CHARLOTTE AMALIE – A 27-year-old woman accused of beating and severely injuring a young girl has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.
Latoya Nicole Smith pleaded guilty Thursday morning to third-degree assault, admitting she beat and severely injured the girl using a broken glass bottle.
Smith was charged with nine counts – first-degree assault, mayhem, four counts of using a dangerous weapon during the commission of a crime of violence and three counts of third-degree assault – in connection with the Aug. 2, 2012 incident. She faced 15 years behind bars on the first-degree assault conviction alone.
In his allocution outlining the terms of the plea agreement offered by the Attorney General, Assistant Attorney General Eugene James Connor, Jr., made an oral recommendation that in exchange for the guilty plea, the remaining counts against Smith be dismissed, that she be sentenced to three years imprisonment, pay restitution to the victim for any medical bills not covered by insurance and the mandatory fine of $500, plus $75 for court costs.
The prosecutor also recommended that Smith have no contact with the victim or her family. An affidavit written by police detective Sehkera Tyson stated that on Aug. 2, 2012 at about 5 p.m., police responded to reports of a fight among several girls at the Sky High Club.
Based on eyewitnesses’ reports, police learnt that a group of boys and girls were standing outside the club, waiting for a ride. They were all getting into the car when Smith approached one of the girls and struck her with her fist and a fight ensued. The girl tried to run, but Smith pursued her, picked up a bottle, broke it and repeatedly slashed the girl about her face and body. When the others intervened in the fight, Smith also wounded them with the broken bottle, according to Tyson’s affidavit.
As a result, the three victims were taken to Schneider hospital. One received more than 100 sutures to her face, several staples in her head and several staples in her stomach, according to Tyson. Another of the victims received multiple stitches to her arm, Tyson wrote. The third victim also received multiple stitches to her arm, according to Tyson.
The victims viewed a photo array and positively identified Smith as their attacker, according to Tyson.
V.I. Superior Court Judge Kathleen Mackay accepted Smith’s guilty plea, but has scheduled her sentencing for Oct. 7 at 10 a.m. as she awaits a pre-sentence report.
Smith remains free on bail.