Three women charged in a Philadelphia gas station attack that left a homeless man in a coma rejected plea deals Tuesday.
Attorneys for Aleathea Gillard, 34, Shareena Joachim, 23, and Kaisha Duggins, 24, rejected to pleading guilty to charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, conspiracy and other offenses in the beating of 51-year-old Robert Barnes. Officials say the suspects could have received a prison term of 7 to 14 years if they pleaded guilty to the charges. They now face longer prison sentences if convicted.
The three women along with three juveniles were all charged in connection to a brutal beating involving a hammer, a piece of wood and Mace outside the Sunoco gas station at 5th Street and Somerville Avenue in the Olney section of the city back on April 7. Police say one of Gillard’s children falsely accused Barnes, a homeless veteran, of hitting him, which prompted the attack.
Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.
Surveillance video shows a group jump from a minivan and rush towards Barnes as he stood outside the Sunoco station. They then punch him, stomp on him and strike him with a hammer. One of the women in the group then grabbed a boy from the minivan and brought him over to the injured man.
"One of the women was screaming look at my child's face," said Brittney Horsey, a witness. "He did this to my child's face."
At that point, the group got back in the minivan and sped off.
Barnes, who suffered severe head injuries, remains in a coma several months after the attack. The three teens, a 14-year-old boy, 12-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy all pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and conspiracy and were remanded to juvenile detention centers. Gillard, Joachim and Duggins will face homicide charges if Barnes dies, according to the District Attorney’s Office.