When Natalie Giles Davis got out of her family's car to confront a group of teenage girls after a traffic altercation in June, "she didn't have a chance," prosecutors said yesterday.
Davis, 25, was surrounded by five teenage girls--three of whom police said they believe may have ties to a Prince William County street gang--and was beaten to death. In testimony yesterday in the first day of the murder trial for one of her alleged attackers, witnesses said Davis was taken to the ground and straddled and had her head slammed repeatedly into the concrete.
Prosecutors said that Teresa Hattie Dixon, 18, who is on trial in Prince William County Circuit Court, then approached a "helpless" Davis and kicked her solidly in the head.
A few days after the attack, Davis died of severe brain swelling. Witnesses testified yesterday that Davis became embroiled in a fight primarily with one of the teenage girls after telling them to move their car, which had been blocking the exit to the Bentley Circle town house community in Woodbridge. Davis, her two young children and several other relatives had been on their way to a church meeting.
According to witnesses, the group of girls chased Davis's car down the road and then blocked it in. Davis and Kurebia Maria Hampton, 16, then engaged in a fistfight, and Davis ended up on the ground before Hampton allegedly knelt over Davis, grabbed her by the hair and began slamming her head into the sidewalk.
Defense attorney Mark Yaeger argued yesterday that blame should shift from Dixon to Hampton, who witnesses testified was the primary attacker. Yaeger said Dixon ran to the fight to break it up and inadvertently became a part of it.
"Teresa Dixon's initial instinct to break up the fight was proper," Yaeger said, adding that Davis backhanded Dixon when she stepped in. "She got whacked in the process, she retaliated, then withdrew. Then, a murder took place."
Police said Dixon kicked Davis after she was already down. Hampton, who has been charged as an adult with murder, will go on trial in November.
Police Sgt. Richard Leonard testified that a yellow shirt Hampton wore at the time of the attack is a piece of apparel commonly linked to the gang known as "Five-Five," but he gave no indication as to whether the attack was related to the gang's activities.
Dixon did not speak in court yesterday but might testify today. Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney James A. Willett rested the prosecution's case in the afternoon after testimony from police officers, medical experts and relatives of Davis who witnessed the fight.
Arguing that Dixon contributed to injuries that later killed Davis, Willett characterized Dixon's role in the fight as secondary, but still deadly.
"As the fight was ending, she came up on the victim," Willett said in his opening statement, looking over at Dixon. "Natalie can't move except to turn her head to moan. She was helpless. Then the defendant came up and kicked her with a force that was significant."
Davis's aunt, Mary Ann Giles, who had been driving the family to church, testified that she couldn't remember specifics about the fight but did recall Davis telling the teenage girls, "I live here and I will be back," before the girls pursued the family. Yaeger portrayed that statement as a "challenge" to the girls.
As his first witness in the case, Yaeger called Hampton into the courtroom and had her stand before the jury and turn around, as "demonstrative evidence" to show her size. Hampton, who is about 5 feet 10 and 200 pounds, was not put on the stand. Her attorney, William Baker, said she was "prepared to answer any questions."
CAPTION: Mary Ann Giles testifies about the death of her niece, Natalie Giles Davis, who was beaten after complaining about a car blocking the street.