- Associated Press - Saturday, May 23, 2015

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Another defendant, among six charged in an attack on a homeless man at a north Philadelphia gas station, has been ordered to stand trial.

A judge on Friday ordered Shareena Joachim, 23, to stand trial on charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, conspiracy and related offenses, The Philadelphia Daily News (https://bit.ly/1Lw2jkU) reported. Last month, Aleathea Gillard, 34, waived her preliminary hearing and was held for trial on all charges.

Four other people are charged in the April 7 attack on 51-year-old Robert Barnes, who remains in a coma. Police say the beating happened after a boy reported having gotten into a dispute with Barnes at the Olney station as both were trying to pump gas for customers for spare change.

Authorities released surveillance video showing a half-dozen people jumping out of a minivan and attacking Barnes with a hammer and a piece of wood, and punching and kicking him.

Public defender Stephanie Fennell argued Friday for dismissal of the attempted murder charge against Joachim. But the judge rejected her argument after viewing surveillance video and hearing portions of the defendant’s police statement read in court. In her statement, Joachim denied having struck Barnes, saying she had tried to spray him with Mace but missed and hit a 13-year-old.



Fennell also sought bail, saying her client has two children at home and no prior criminal record.

Assistant District Attorney Danielle Bunting suggested that bail be set at $1 million, and the judge agreed.

Diane Barnes, one of the victim’s sisters, told the newspaper that her brother has been moved to a nursing home but hasn’t regained consciousness.

“His diagnosis is poor,” she said. “My family’s just devastated. We just wish the outcome would be better. We’re praying for a miracle at this time.”

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Information from: The Philadelphia Daily News, https://www.philly.com

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