Trial started Monday for the second Lakeside teen accused in the alleged racially-motivated attempted murder of a Black teenage girl who was stabbed twice in the back in April.
The 16-year-old suspect and his 15-year-old girlfriend are facing attempted murder charges with a hate crime enhancement.
Outside court, the victim’s aunt and community leaders called for one defendant’s father to be charged, too.
NBC 7 is not naming any of the teens in this case because they are minors.
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The prosecution is painting this as a racist attack by a teen boy who has called the victim and her family racial slurs during previous arguments.
During opening statements, defense attorney Kate Tesch said instead of calling police, “as they should have done,” the teens went to confront the victim over the alleged bullying of the stabbing suspect’s 11-year-old sister. The victim denied that claim.
The defense also stated that the stabbing was not racially motivated.
In court, the prosecutor showed photos of a metal drainage grate the 15-year-old female defendant was allegedly armed with the night of April 16. The defense said her boyfriend also came armed with a concealed knife.
On the stand, the victim said there was an argument earlier that day between her, her sister, and the defendants over a mean look.
Later that night, as the victim's family came home, they were confronted by the teen couple and the boyfriend’s family.
The victim said the girl got in her mom's face with the metal grate, so she got in between them to defend her mom. The two girls started shoving each other when the victim said she was stabbed twice in the back by the defendant's boyfriend, as he called her a racial slur.
“This was heinous and we’re not looking for a slap on the wrist. We’re asking the judge, the system, to make an example that attacking a person in such a heinous way carries consequences,” North County Equity & Justice Coalition leader Yusef Miller said. “If we don’t give these consequences, then we embolden racist attacks against people of color in this county.”
Witnesses said the male suspect’s father walked over with the teens, yet did nothing to stop the attack. He has not been charged and the district attorney’s office has said that unless an adult is committing a crime they cannot prosecute a parent for standing by, regardless of the incident.
“The father knowingly walked both minors, with weapons, over to commit this heinous act," the victim's aunt Nicole Streater said. "Law enforcement and the DA have refused to arrest and charge the father, but if it was the other way around, we would have been in jail.”
The male defendant has also pleaded not guilty. He’ll be back in court on August 1. A motion has been filed to try the teen boy as an adult. That hearing date has not yet been set.