Spartan Village assault victim recounts beating
Three important individuals testified Thursday in the preliminary exam for two of the women allegedly responsible for the savage beating of an MSU student just before spring break.
Paris Strickland and Brittani Barber-Gribble, two of the five defendants in the case sat in the courtroom while alleged victim Ryah Kelly and the two officers who investigated the case, Aaron White, a patrol officer who responded to the initial dispatch, and Det. James Terrill, the officer who conducted the follow-up investigation, were questioned.
19-year-old Kelly shared her narrative of the incident and said she was called early on March 6 by one of the defendants not present, Madison Reed, who called Kelly with the ruse that a friend was drunk and needed help. This ruse, Kelly said, was to get her apartment address.
Going out to help them when they arrived at Spartan Village Apartments, a girl who Kelly had issues with in the past, Chinonye Nwangwu, emerged from the vehicle.
"I told her, 'hold on, we don't got to do this right now, my baby in the house,'" Kelly said, referring to her, at the time, five month old daughter.
The other four individuals who she identified as black females got out of the car and beat her to the ground, spraying her with pepper spray. After she forced her way up, one suspect, who was identified as Madison Reed by suspect interviews conducted by Terrill, struck her three times with a baseball bat, meriting eight staples at the Sparrow Hospital emergency room.
"I initially saw her forehead, appeared to (have) two knots on it, her eyes appeared to be swollen and she had abrasions on her knee," White said about his first time seeing Kelly after the attack.
Her car, a Pontiac G6, was also damaged, valued at above $1,000 but below $20,000 for the purposes of the exam. Windows were smashed in and the gas cap was removed and police said the rear of the car was covered in a liquid. Though no samples of it were taken, Terrill said it was probably pepper spray.
In the days after the attack, Kelly undertook her own social media investigation to see who the people who attacked her were, and came up with the identities using Twitter and Instagram. Terrill was able to identify them afterwards by using the Michigan State Police's bio-metrics and records information.
The defense tried to cast doubt on whether each client was actively involved with the events, and the prosecutor, Russel Church, was trying to cast the case in light of a conspiracy. Attorney for Barber-Gribble, Kareem Johnson, said it wasn't proven his client took part and, addressing the conspiracy, said his client "had no duty to call the police" even if she had foreknowledge of the crime.
Church, suggesting a similar narrative as Terrill, said all the girls had to have known what they were doing before they got to the apartment, using their numbers to terrify Kelly.
"The only reason that this stopped before it was able to become a homicide was because Ms. Kelly was able to get away," Church said.
The other three preliminary exams for the rest of the defendants are scheduled for June 11 in 54-B District Court.