A Prince William County judge ruled yesterday that 16-year-old Kurebia Hampton can be tried as an adult on murder charges in the beating of Natalie Giles Davis, a Woodbridge woman who died from head injuries after fighting with a group of teenage girls over a traffic altercation.

Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge William Alan Becker decided to refer charges of murder, felony murder and aggravated malicious wounding against Hampton to a grand jury scheduled to convene Aug. 2. If convicted, Hampton could face up to life in prison.

Police allege that Hampton, of Woodbridge, and Teresa Dixon, 18, of the Alexandria section of Fairfax County, brutally beat Davis on June 29 after the 25-year-old woman yelled at them for blocking the entrance to the Bentley Circle town house community with their car. According to police, Hampton was a passenger in a green Geo Prizm that pulled out onto Rollingwood Drive in pursuit of Davis, who was riding to church with several relatives, including her two young children.

After both cars stopped, a verbal fight escalated to violence, and police allege that Hampton slammed Davis's head repeatedly into the concrete before kicking her. Police say Dixon then ran up from behind the fight and stomped on Davis's head. Dixon, who has been indicted on charges of murder and aggravated malicious wounding, is in jail awaiting an October trial.

An autopsy report says Davis died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head, which led to massive brain hemorrhaging.

At a preliminary hearing yesterday, Prince William police Detective Richard Leonard testified that in a statement after her arrest, Hampton admitted to kicking Davis once in the face, a blow that she described as "solid." Hampton claimed that Davis instigated the fight and that she was fending off Davis's punches.

"At some point, the victim went down on the ground, grabbed ahold of Ms. Hampton's shirt, pulled her to the ground, and they exchanged punches," Leonard said, referring to Hampton's statement. "Ms. Hampton then got away, and she claimed she kicked her once in the face."

Leonard said that Hampton's shirt, which was later recovered at a Bentley Circle address, was ripped, likely a result of the fight.

Though Hampton's statements portray her part of the fight as an act of self-defense, prosecutors said that Hampton and Dixon "pursued" Davis with the intent of attacking her.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney James A. Willett yesterday called Hampton's statement "self-serving," adding that even if Hampton had been defending herself, her responsibility would have been to get out of the fight, not to continue a violent attack.

"When one delivers a kick to one's face, the intent is to disable or to injure severely," Willett said. "She is responsible for the probable results of those actions."

Willett said one of his theories about the case involves a "concert of action," in which Hampton, Dixon and possibly other teenagers involved in the altercation worked together to corner Davis and then attack her.

The driver of the car and two other teenage girls were present during the fight, police said, and Willett said there is a "strong possibility" that charges will be brought against others involved.

Hampton sat silently throughout yesterday's hearing, making occasional eye contact with relatives. A few of Davis's family members attended the hearing, but they declined to comment. Hampton will remain in the county's juvenile detention center at least until the grand jury meets next month.