Deliberations to resume in Pittsfield bar brawl
PITTSFIELD -- A Berkshire Superior Court jury will resume deliberations on Monday in the case of three city women charged in a brawl outside a bar.
Defendants Alicya M. Hubbard and Brittany Gresser, both 23, and Shanay Jones, 35, are accused of being involved in a fight outside the former Back Nine Bar & Grille on Crane Avenue in the early morning of March 16, 2013, that left Alyssa Mendonsa 26, with a slashed face.
Jurors deliberated for more than four hours Thursday before leaving for the day. They did not deliberate on Friday because of scheduling matters.
According to testimony, there was "bad blood" between Mendonsa and Hubbard over a man.
Attorney Leonard H. Cohen, representing Hubbard, told the jury that Mendonsa had made threats on Facebook not long before, in which she called her derogatory names and threatened to "punch her in the throat."
That night Mendonsa and her cousin, 22-year-old Qyreeana Sistrunk, were at the bar at the same time as the defendants. Mendonsa began making a scene and she and her cousin were escorted out of the bar by a bouncer, according to testimony.
The defense lawyers said Mendonsa was drunk and aggressive.
Attorney Raymond J. Jacoub, representing Gresser, said Hubbard and her friends did nothing to provoke Mendonsa.
Mendonsa and her cousin stayed in the area after getting thrown out. The women testified they were waiting to score some marijuana. The defense attorneys allege the women were waiting for their clients to leave the bar.
In the parking lot, Mendonsa was "goading" and "taunting" Hubbard and "intended to attack and victimize" her, Cohen said.
Mendonsa and her cousin struck first, they admitted, punching Gresser and Jones before turning on Hubbard, who had been in the car before coming out to try to help her friends.
Jones' attorney, Edmund St. John III, said his client acted as "a peacemaker," telling Mendonsa, whom he referred to as "a drunken, raging young woman," to go home.
When the fight broke out, Jones restrained Sistrunk, preventing her from returning to the fight, he said.
In the aftermath of the fight, Mendonsa suffered a slash to her face that required 19 stitches, as well as a cut to her chest and neck, among other less serious wounds.
The prosecution alleges a sharp blade of some sort was used, although neither Mendonsa or her cousin saw a knife or other blade.
Jacoub told the jury Mendonsa's physician couldn't determine what made the cut and that it could have come from jewelry.
Sistrunk suffered a dislocated shoulder and sprained wrist, among other injuries.
Gresser had a cut to her chest and finger and believed Mendonsa had slashed her with a blade of some sort.
Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Joseph Yorlano told the jury Thursday that the case wasn't about who started the fight.
"That's what third-graders do with their teacher," he said during his final summation.
He said the case was about what happened afterward.
"Self-defense isn't a golden ticket. You can't do whatever you want," he said.
He said the women went too far and used "excessive force."
"There are no angels in this case," he acknowledged. He said Mendonsa "poked the bear" and the three defendants got "hyped up and responded to this" and their reaction went too far.
Hubbard and Gresser are facing single counts of mayhem and two counts each of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery.
Jones had a mayhem charge dismissed prior to trial, but is still facing two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery.
The jury will continue deliberating on Monday.
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