Woman guilty in beating

The Baltimore Sun

A 32-year-old Edgewood woman convicted of beating a neighbor in a violent fracas could face up to 29 years in prison, authorities said.

A Harford County jury found Natasha Terresa Fowlkes guilty of first-degree assault of a 44-year-old man, who was beaten and stabbed in the attack and left paralyzed.

Fowlkes was also found guilty of possession of a dangerous weapon and malicious destruction of property on Thursday. After the jury returned the verdict, Fowlkes' $30,000 bond was revoked and she was sent to the Harford County Detention Center.

Fowlkes is the first to be convicted in the Nov. 25 incident in which witnesses said as many as 50 people swarmed in front of Gregory Simmons' home in the 1900 block of Eloise Lane in Edgewood, in a dispute about his 19-year-old daughter's relationship with a male.

After hearing girls arguing, Simmons testified, he came out of his home to get his family members safe inside and was attacked.

"I was on the ground, all I remember is they're stomping me on the chest - stomp, stomp - and banging me on the arms with sticks, because I'm covering my face. I couldn't move, or sit up and I can't get up," he said.

During closing arguments Thursday, Assistant State's Attorney Joel C. Muneses said Fowlkes, accompanied by family members, "definitely kicked him like a football. This was not accidental. He was bum-rushed."

Three people were injured, the door of Simmons' home was damaged and the windows of his two vehicles were smashed in the attack, Muneses said.

Fowlkes' defense attorney Timothy Streett questioned the credibility of an eyewitness, Simmons' wife. He also said there were no prints on the baseball bat used in the incident or DNA evidence linking his client to the crime.

While describing the incident as a travesty, "a free-for-all, where people were fighting for no reason," Streett said: "There is no evidence that she had anything to do with these Peyton Place problems. They're trying to bring her in because she's related to some of the people involved."

Fowlkes was on her way to do laundry when she saw a mob clustered at the house and only tried to make sure her daughter was safe, Streett said.

After three hours of deliberation, the jury disagreed with that account.

"I'm pleased with the outcome that she was found guilty of the first-degree assault against Gregory Simmons," Muneses said yesterday.

Muneses is expected to prosecute the remaining six suspects in the case, including Fowlkes' older sister and her 16-year-old daughter. Fowlkes' two nieces were acquitted last month.

Fowlkes' sentencing will be scheduled after a pre-sentencing investigation is complete.



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