Wednesday, August 15, 2007

They Stomped Precious

Murder charges stick in 'Precious' case
Eileen Kelley, Cincinnati Inquirer

Free from jail less than a month, 34-year-old Keisha Pitts repeatedly wiped tears from her eyes as a juvenile court judge said there was enough probable cause to go forward with the murder charges against her 15-year-old son.

Judge Thomas R. Lipps said he will decide Aug. 29 if the case against Alfonso “Lil Al” Price will be held in juvenile court or adult court.

Alfonso and co-defendant Jebrell Wright, 17, are accused of stomping on Alfonso’s pregnant girlfriend’s swollen belly July 11, causing the unborn child’s skull to fracture.

Jebrell’s case was bound over to adult court on Wednesday. Lipps ordered him to be held on a $400,000 bond. “I’m satisfied,” said Betty Payne, who would have been the great-grandmother of Kerria Anderson’s baby. “I want justice to be (served) because it should be.”

Lipps is required to consider a mental evaluation as well as the youth’s juvenile record before making a decision on whether to have the teen tried as an adult or juvenile because of Alfonso’s age.

Alfonso has at least 10 charges on his juvenile record.

Anderson, 18, was in labor for 24 hours after the beating in Over-the-Rhine. The baby, whom she planned to name Precious, was pronounced dead after Anderson was checked into a hospital. Two doctors – an obstetrician gynecologist and a forensic pathologist – testified Wednesday that the unborn child who was roughly 29-weeks into development and would have survived even 10 weeks premature had it not been for the trauma.

Anderson spent 40 minutes on the witness stand. At times, she appeared confused during questioning.

She said she was at a bus stop in Over-the-Rhine when she saw her ex-boyfriend Alfonso and was coaxed inside an apartment building. Once inside, she testified Jebrell punched her in the face with a closed fist. She said she fought back and begged Alfonso to stop the attack.

He didn’t, she said.“B---- you should have got an abortion, now your baby is going to die,” Anderson said Alfonso told her.

On Friday, a lone person carried the small white casket through Baltimore Pike Cemetery where Precious was buried after people in the community pitched in to make sure there was a proper burial.

Pitts, Alfonso’s mother, sat just feet from her son during Wednesday’s hearing. Alfonso showed little reaction to testimony from Anderson, the two doctors and Cincinnati homicide detective Kurt Ballman. Pitts has been arrested 42 times. She was last jail in Hamilton County on June 27 on domestic violence charges, On July 16, she was released without bond. Eleven days later, the charges were dismissed.

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