CORRECTION: A previous version of this article's headline, which had been edited by a digital media producer, stated the victim punched the suspect's sister. It was the victim's sibling who allegedly hit the girl. We regret the error.
Neighborhood children took the stand Tuesday on the second day two of an attempted murder trial of a Lakeside teen who is accused of the attempted murder of a Black teen girl this spring.
In April, the 15-year-old defendant’s 16-year-old boyfriend stabbed the victim twice in the back, according to investigators.
The teen couple now face charges of attempted murder with hate-crime enhancements.
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The prosecution is painting the incident as a racist attack by a teen boy who has called the victim and her family the n-word during previous arguments. The defense admits that the stabbing was wrong but claims it was not racially motivated.
During opening statements, defense attorney Kate Tesch said that, instead of calling the police, “as they should have done,” the teens confronted the victim about allegedly bullying the male suspects' 11-year-old sister.
Tuesday, two children corroborated the defense's claims that, earlier on the day of the stabbing, the victim's sister punched the suspect's little sister, which likely caused the high tension that day.
San Diego County Sheriff’s deputy detective Roland Garza Jr. testified that the child had “minor redness,” on her forehead and reported that she had been assaulted by the stabbing victim.
Neighbor Kevin Lueck testified that he saw three Black girls throw punches at a little white girl, who was identified as the 11-year-old.
Lueck said she ran up to him and was “very scared, shaking and crying.”
According to a doctor, the teen victim was stabbed in her back and side, resulting in internal bleeding and a collapsed lung.
On Tuesday, it was also revealed that the victim and her family were relocated for their protection.
Outside court on Monday, the victim’s aunt and community leaders called for the male suspect’s father to be charged too. Several witnesses said he was present during the stabbing but did nothing to stop the attack.
“There is no reason why you come to someone’s house with weapons, with your parents, to cause harm and that parent has no type of nothing: No jail time, no anything,” the victim’s aunt Nicole Streater said.
In court Monday, the prosecutor showed the 2-foot drainage grate, the female defendant allegedly came armed with the night of April 16. The defense said her boyfriend also came armed with a concealed knife.
On the stand, the 16-year-old stabbing victim testified that 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 mother's face with the metal grate, so she got in between them to defend her mom. When the two girls started shoving each other, she was stabbed twice in the back by the defendant's boyfriend while he called her a “n----- b----,” according to witnesses.
Witnesses said the stabbing suspect’s father walked over with the teens yet did nothing to stop the attack. He has not been charged. The district attorney’s office has said that, unless an adult is committing a crime, their office cannot prosecute a parent for standing by, despite how horrific an incident was.
“This was heinous, and we’re not looking for a slap on the wrist,” North County Equity & Justice Coalition leader Yusef Miller said. “We’re asking the judge — the system — to make an example ... that attacking a person in such a heinous way carries consequences. If we don’t give these consequences, then we embolden racist attacks against people of color in this county.”
The male defendant has also pleaded not guilty. He’ll be in court Aug. 1. A motion has been filed to try him as an adult, but a hearing date has not been set to argue that motion.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this article's headline stated the victim punched the suspect's sister. It was the victim's sibling who allegedly hit the girl.