Lesbians sentenced in self defense fight against straight man

NEW YORK—The sentences were punctuated by moans, wails and expressions of disbelief.

Each defendant wept visibly and audibly, and one collapsed to the floor, as four women convicted of assaulting a man who made advances toward one of them were sentenced June 14 to prison terms ranging from 3 and 1/2 to 11 years.

Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Edward McLaughlin made clear that he believed the women, ages 19 to 25 and all from Newark, N.J., were guilty. He said a surveillance tape of the fight was “damning.”

With more than two-dozen court officers ringing the courtroom, the judge sentenced Patreese Johnson, 20, to 11 years in prison. Johnson admitted she had a knife and is seen on the videotape swinging it at the victim, Dwayne Buckle, who was stabbed during the incident.

Renata Hill, 25, was sentenced to eight years. The judge said Hill was “seen re-instigating the event (fight) when it’s over.” McLaughlin said that if it’s true Buckle was stabbed in the second flare-up, Hill “bears some responsibility.”

The judge called Venice Brown, 19, “an aggressor who ran after the victim” and sentenced her to five years. He said the videotape showed her “punching and pulling” Buckle during the fight.

Terrain Dandridge, 20, was the only defendant “who took some responsibility, finally, which is what nobody else did,” the judge said in sentencing her to the least harsh prison term, 3 1/2 years.

While all the defendants wept, Hill sobbed, screamed and fell to the floor after the sentencing. Court officers carried her out of the courtroom.

Three other women who were in the group previously pleaded guilty to attempted assault and were sentenced to six months in jail and five years probation.

The four sentenced last week were convicted April 18 of assaulting Buckle, who had made advances toward one of the seven in Greenwich Village on Aug. 18, 2006.

Johnson testified at trial that her group told Buckle they were not interested and he became loud and rude, called them names and threw a cigarette at them while saying that having sex with him would make them straight.

Buckle, 29, testified that he was in a hospital for five days and in bed at home for a month after surgery for a lacerated liver and stomach. He said he also suffered cuts, bruises, scratches and an eye injury in the attack.

From The Chicago Free Press Online July 4th, 2007

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