The woman assaulted in Brentwood earlier this month may have been a victim of mistaken identity and not the so-called knockout game, according to statements the three teens accused of attacking her made to police.
Wayne Beavers and Qwatese Jarvis, both 16 and of Bay Shore, and Wilfredo Torres, 17, of Brentwood, each are charged with misdemeanor counts of third-degree assault after police said they attacked a 52-year-old woman as she walked home from the supermarket March 7.
The assault left Ada Dinora Lachuga with a broken rib, badly bruised knees and a concussion.
The trio were arraigned separately Tuesday at Suffolk County First District Court in Central Islip. Their attorneys entered not guilty pleas. Judge G. Ann Spelman set bail for each at $1,000 cash or $3,000 bond.
Jarvis was expected to make bail and be released, his Central Islip attorney, Robert A. Macedonio, said Tuesday afternoon. It's not clear if Torres or Beavers were going to make bail.
Lachuga's family claimed she may have been a victim of a "knockout game," a disturbing trend in which suspects randomly go up to strangers and punch them in the head to render them unconscious.
However, the teens' statements to police, while varying on details, indicate Lachuga may have been a victim of mistaken identity.
Torres told police he mistakenly thought Lachuga was "a kid from school that I had a problem with," the statement said. "I caught up to the person, I hit her I kept running and then I turned and looked back," Torres wrote in the statement. "I didn't know it was a woman. When I saw that I had hit an innocent person, I felt dumb, stupid and bad."
Torres' attorney, Omar Almanzar-Paramio, said his client is a high school student who has never had brushes with the law and that Beavers' and Jarvis' statements never indicated that his client punched Lachuga, but that he "mushed" her -- or pushed on her forehead.
Jarvis and Beavers both told police the three were passengers in a car and were driving around when Torres jumped out of the car. Jarvis told police Torres yelled out, "That's the guy who robbed me," before he jumped out of the vehicle when it stopped behind a bus.
Lachuga's sister Alba Juarez who was at the arraignment, said her sister was wearing a coat with a hood on when the attack happened.
She said it doesn't matter if the teens thought her sister was someone else. "They are not supposed to commit such a crime," Juarez said in Spanish. "There is no excuse for what they did."