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Victim tells about attack details

Among her testimony is what one of 10 youths who allegedly assaulted her was wearing. The judge alters his ruling on anonymous witnesses.

December 09, 2006|Joe Mozingo | Times Staff Writer

One of the three white women attacked in a Long Beach street on Halloween remained calm and confident Friday as defense attorneys tested her ability to recall small details of the chaotic mob beating.

Loren Hyman, 21, testifying for the second day in the trial of 10 black juveniles charged in the assaults, recounted how she identified four of the youths during a police interview hours after she was attacked.

Hyman's testimony came as the judge hearing the case issued a ruling modifying an earlier order allowing anonymous witnesses to testify in the racially charged proceeding.

Superior Court Judge Gibson W. Lee had issued a blanket order Wednesday allowing anonymity for witnesses after one reported being repeatedly intimidated by gang members. But after defense lawyers argued that the order violated their clients' 6th Amendment right to confront their accusers, Lee decided each witness would have to show that he or she was personally intimidated in order to forego identification when taking the stand.

The issue came up after a key prosecution witness, Kiana Alford, told police that gang members were waiting for her on her car one day. Police say that a week later, her car, parked outside her home, was rammed and totaled while she was in court. Police saw both acts as bids to discourage her from testifying.

Hyman's testimony Friday was a marked contrast to Alford's. After saying she could place all 10 defendants among the group beating the women, Alford made some significant contradictions and ultimately conceded that she could not see exactly who took part in the attack.

The nine girls and a boy are charged with three counts each of assault with intent to commit great bodily injury. Eight also face a hate crime enhancement. Two other boys face trial later in the case.

Hyman testified that she and two friends, both 19, did nothing to provoke the attack. She said that some boys made crude comments and that several youths then started calling them an epithet and throwing pumpkins and lemons at them.

Hyman said she did not call them names but just told them to stop throwing things.

To avoid extensive testimony about her injuries, the 10 defense attorneys stipulated that she had been severely hurt.

Hyman suffered 10 bone fractures in her nose, cheek and eye orbital, according to the stipulation. The beating left her left eye "recessed" 3 millimeters. She will need surgery to restore her eyesight fully, and all the teeth in the lower left side of her mouth may be dying.

Less than two hours after the beating, police detained the 10 youths, based on witnesses' descriptions of their cars.

One by one, police brought the minors before Hyman, who was sitting in a police sergeant's SUV in the grocery store parking lot where the youths had been detained. Hyman said she recognized four of the 10 as having directly taken part in the crime.

Attorney John Schmocker asked Hyman to describe what his client -- one of the four she pointed out to police -- looked like that night. She said the youth was wearing a blue top, pants and gold earrings "where the gold was styled to look like bamboo." Schmocker did not dispute her account.

Attorneys for the minors say their clients were at the scene but did not take part in the attack. Each separately gave statements to the police saying a group of black males provoked and carried out the beatings. Several of the minors told police that the males did indeed yell the racial slurs, but they said they did not join in.

joe.mozingo@latimes.com

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