Three women who suffered slash wounds after an early-morning fight with two other women two years ago in New London testified reluctantly Monday as the trial of 24-year-old Quintia Worthy got underway in Superior Court.
Worthy, of Ledge Road, is accused of taking part in the assault, which occurred at 2:58 a.m. on Sept. 4, 2011, near the intersection of Broad Street and Connecticut Avenue. Her codefendant, Shekina L. Jones, 27, has pleaded guilty to cutting the three women, all of whom required multiple stitches, and is scheduled to be sentenced in October to up to two years in prison.
Worthy has pleaded not guilty and opted for a jury trial on three counts of third-degree assault and one count of illegal possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle. New London police said they found a kitchen knife with an 8-inch blade, a pocket knife and a set of brass knuckles in Worthy's car following the incident.
Testimony was delayed for two hours Monday while court officials rounded up the three victims, who did not appear at the Huntington Street courthouse earlier in the morning, as instructed.
Called to the witness stand later by prosecutor Christa L. Baker, victims Deborah Moya, Jessica Lugo and Sandra Torres described how Worthy and Jones had followed them from the Ravi gas station on Broad Street. They said that earlier, they had gone to the Tropical Breeze nightclub downtown, which has since closed.
Moya, of Groton, said her recollection is "very blurry" and that she had been drinking that night. She said she was in the passenger seat of a car driven by Lugo, who is her cousin. She said they left the gas station, pulled onto Connecticut Avenue and pulled over when another vehicle came to a stop next to theirs. She said Lugo and Torres exited the car, and she saw a scuffle. She got out of the car, noticed her cousin fighting with another girl, and pulled her away from behind.
"We both fell, and by the time I got to my feet the police were there," she testified. She noticed her right arm had been "split open" and said she had to hold it together "so it wouldn't leak out." She said she did not know who cut her and was unable to identify Worthy in the courtroom.
Lugo, of New London, testified that Worthy approached the driver's side window and started hitting her through the window.
"I told her to let me get down," she testified. Lugo said she got out of the car and continued fighting and that Moya and Torres "got down" also.
"I hear my cousin saying, 'Everybody got kids. This shouldn't be going down like this,' '' Lugo testified. "It happened so quick."
Lugo said she didn't feel anything or see anybody with a knife, but saw a lot of blood. She required stitches for slash wounds to the face and hand. She said she didn't know who sliced her but that Worthy had struck her.
Under cross-examination by defense attorney Paul Whelan, Lugo admitted telling police that night that she had seen Jones at the club earlier and had heard Jones say, "I'm going to get you for messing with my baby's daddy." Lugo said Jones and Torres had problems in the past.
Torres, of Groton, testified that she and Jones had problems in the past that had landed them in court. She said Worthy and Jones followed their car from the gas station.
"It was just a whole big commotion and one thing led to another and there was three of us being sliced," she testified. "Honestly I don't know who cut me. It could be her (Worthy) or it could be Shekina (Jones)."
Former New London Police patrolman Kyle Gorra, now a state police recruit, narrated a video of the aftermath of the fight recorded by Patrolman Jeremy Zelinski's dashboard camera. Gorra testified that he searched Worthy's car, finding the kitchen knife in the passenger side compartment, the brass knuckles in the passenger side door and a pocket knife in Worthy's purse. "Was there any indication that these were the knives involved in the incident?" Baker, the prosecutor asked Gorra.
"No," he responded.
Whelan replayed the video during his cross-examination of Gorra, drawing his attention to a person who was near the driver's side door of the car when Zelinski, the first officer on scene, pulled up. Gorra said Zelinski was unable to stop the man or get his license plate before Gorra arrived.
It is unclear whether Jones, the stabber, will testify at the trial, which is expected to last up to four days.