The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Charges of beating transgender woman dropped
BY KEITH EPPS
The cases against two people accused of beating a transgender woman last year were dropped Thursday after both the victim and another key prosecution witness failed to show up in court.
Farkeem French, 20, and Laqueta Webb, 19, were both charged in Fredericksburg Circuit Court with two felony offenses, malicious wounding and malicious wounding by mob.
The charges stemmed from a May 21, 2011, incident involving 33-year-old Ahnesia Jett outside the 7–Eleven in Bragg Hill.
Police at the time said Jett was attacked by at least three people and was hit with fists, feet and a broken-off metal broom handle. The beating stopped after one of Jett’s neighbors got on top of her in an attempt to protect her.
Jett told police that her status as a former man played a role in the attack because she was taunted about it during the beating.
Jay Ventura and Tara Beth Coleman, the attorneys for French and Webb, respectively, have said that Jett’s transgender status had nothing to do with the incident. The altercation apparently started earlier in the day in a dispute involving a dog.
It was at least the second time the prosecution witness, Sharon Forsyth, hadn’t shown up for a scheduled trial. Prosecutor Travis Bird said this time he dropped the charges, but did so in a way that they could be reinstated in the future. It is unlikely that would happen.
The defense attorneys asked that the cases be dismissed altogether, a request that was denied.
Another man involved in the altercation, Gregory Allen Frye Jr., pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge last year and got 12 months in jail with all but 15 days suspended. Frye threw a single punch, according to the evidence.
Jett is scheduled to be in Prince William General District Court next week on a charge of filing a false police report, court records show.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404