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Beating cases in Fredericksburg falling apart.
BY KEITH EPPS
The cases against two people accused of beating up a transgender woman last year appear in danger of falling apart.
Trials were scheduled Wednesday in Fredericksburg Circuit Court for Farkeem French, 19, and Laqueta Webb, 18.
They are both charged with malicious wounding and malicious wounding by mob in connection with the May 21 beating of Ahnesia Jett.
But prosecutor Travis Bird was unable to proceed because the only eyewitness to come forward did not show up in court.
Judge Horace A. Revercomb III issued a court order requiring Sharon Forsyth to explain why she didn't appear as required by subpoena. A date for new trials may be set later.
According to court records and police reports, Jett was outside the 7-Eleven on Fall Hill Avenue on May 21 when she was attacked by several young men and a young woman.
She told police that her transgender status played a role in the attack. She said she was taunted about it during the beating.
Jett had also had a run-in earlier in the day with a cousin of one of her attackers. That dispute had something to do with a dog.
At a preliminary hearing, Jett testified that she didn't get a good look at her attackers because it happened so fast.
Several witnesses intervened and one actually got on top of Jett in an attempt to protect her. Several people called police, but officers later had trouble finding anyone else who had actually witnessed the incident.
Jett had wounds to her face, knees and elbows.
French, one of the accused, left the altercation with a broken nose.
Gregory Allen Frye Jr. pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge in July and got 12 months in jail with all but 15 days suspended. Frye threw a single punch.
Attorney Tara Beth Coleman, who is representing Webb, said the evidence does not support claims that Jett was attacked because she is a transgender person.
"That was not the reason for this incident," Coleman said. "This all stemmed from a dispute about a dog."
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404