An upstate N.Y. woman who had been arrested last winter after allegedly punching a Walmart employee in the face has been convicted.
In Dec. 2011 Digital Journal reported on a case where a 26-year-old woman was arrested, having been accused of punching a 70-year-old Walmart greeter in the face. The incident occurred on Christmas Eve after the greeter asked the woman to present a receipt for the items she was carrying in her store bags.
According to WBTA am, the case went to jury this week and media reports say Jacquetta Simmons, now 27, has been convicted of 2nd Degree Assault under New York’s Elder Law (also referred to as the "Granny Law"). This new law allows stiffer penalties against people that are convicted of assault against victims, aged 65 years or older.
The case took place in Genesee County Court and a decision was made on Friday afternoon after approximately 2-3 hours total jury deliberation; this includes time where the jury asked to review video footage. The verdict returned to the court was unanimous with a guilty finding.
Simmons' attorney said he plans to appeal the case as he feels intent has not been proven. According to the Batavian, Key acknowledges his client hit Grace Suozzi, 70, but he claims his client tried to swing free from another Walmart employee's grasp and accidentally hit Suozzi in the process.
"The video is unclear. I don’t know what they saw. In certain spots the video is not very clear, I don’t know if they saw it the way I saw it," said defense attorney Earl Key, reported WBTA.
The District Attorney in the case had showed the jury a frame by frame recap of the surveillance footage, indicating customer service manager Sharon Reigle was not "even close enough to Simmons to be holding her arm when Simmons starts her swing." The rest of the analysis detailed in the Batavian. The prosecution was able to provide both in-store and outside video which was corroborated by witnesses.
According to WGRZ Channel 2 News, this case is one of the first to be prosecuted under New York's "Granny Law".
Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 14. Simmons was released on her own recognizance. On her sentencing date, she could receive a sentence of probation to up to 7 years in prison.