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Baltimore bus beating update: On trial

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By Michelle Malkin  •  March 4, 2008 06:50 PM

The trial in the Baltimore bus beating involving a white homeless woman and a gang of black students is underway. The problem is identifying all the assailants involved in the melee. 911 tapes captured the chaos. Via the Baltimore Sun:

A woman who was severely beaten last year on a city bus told a juvenile court judge yesterday that she could identify only one of the teens accused of attacking her over an empty seat.

Nine students at Robert Poole Middle School have been accused of beating Sarah Kreager, 26, and her boyfriend, Troy Ennis, aboard a bus in Hampden in December. One student has admitted her role in the attack, and cases against five began yesterday after more than a month of motions. Cases against the other three alleged assailants have been delayed and could be dismissed, according to court records.

Kreager, the first witness, said that 20 to 30 students poured out of the bus, many of them advancing on her. But in photo arrays viewed weeks after the attack, Kreager said she could only identify with “100 percent confidence” the girl she says started it all: Nakita McDaniels.

The defendants’ lawyers are attacking Kreager’s character:

Kreager described the attack in detail yesterday. She testified that McDaniels told her the seat she was sitting in was taken and then threatened to move her when she didn’t get up. Kreager said she moved seconds later to avoid a confrontation and went to stand with Ennis by the rear door of the bus.

But when Ennis accused the middle schooler of having worse manners than the couple’s 5-year-old daughter, McDaniels resumed taunting them with an expletive-filled tirade, Kreager said.

“I was thinking, ‘Look, you can have the seat,’” Kreager said. “Nakita swung and struck me in the face. … There was an uproar. A female’s legs came up out of a seat on the left-hand side. The noise level went from loud to even louder. I heard a male yelling ‘Stop!’ from the front of the bus.”

Kreager said she crawled out of the bus and began to regroup when students began moving to the front of the bus to get the driver to open the door. Kreager said that Ennis tried to barricade the door shut from the outside until she told him to release the door so the teenagers could get out.

When McDaniels emerged, she repeated “what’s good?” – slang for “let’s go, let’s fight,” Kreager said.

Kreager said she began backing up to prepare herself for an attack, while Ennis apparently faced off with other students.

“Nakita and a female tackled me,” Kreager said. “I was in the gutter with my hands over my face, trying to block the punches. I felt a piercing in my head. … There were at least five to 10, maybe seven to 10, students around me.”

Kreager said the punches and kicks became “harder and harder” until someone pulled her head up by her hair and McDaniels ordered someone to kick her.

“My eye immediately swelled shut,” she said. “I couldn’t see.”

Three of the five defense attorneys have cross-examined Kreager. Although all of them either suggested or asserted during opening statements that Kreager provoked the attack, none of the three attorneys so far has challenged Kreager’s testimony that McDaniels started the fight.

Defense attorneys mostly tried to attack Kreager’s character, pointing to previous arrests, mental health problems and uncooperative behavior at the hospital.

For the most part, Circuit Judge David W. Young cut off such questioning as irrelevant.

Previous coverage here.

One girl has already pleaded guilty:

One of the Baltimore teenagers charged in the beating of a 26-year-old woman aboard a transit bus has admitted her role in the attack.

The girl on Thursday pleaded “involved,” the equivalent of guilty in juvenile court, to charges of second-degree assault and conspiracy to commit first-degree assault.

The girl was one of nine students from Robert Poole Middle School charged in the December beating of 26-year-old Sarah Kreager. Cases against three have been delayed, and proceedings against five others were to resume Friday.

A statement of facts read by prosecutors said the students on the bus “rose up en masse” to join the fight.

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