•Twin brothers on trial for beating a woman, killing a man
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• Woman says she was beaten for no reason
• ‘I’m a girl, I’m a girl’ woman yelled at the men as they hit, kicked her
Twins Gerald and Jared Smith will stand trial for beating a woman and killing a Good Samaritan who came to her aid last summer near downtown Fresno, a judge ruled Wednesday in Fresno County Superior Court.
Judge Hilary Chittick made her decision after Tenille Alexander testified that the brothers punched and kicked her and knocked out one of her teeth in an unprovoked attack on Belmont Avenue at Calavaras Street during the early hours of June 30. “I thought I was going to die,” Alexander told the judge.
During the attack, Alexander testified that a man on a bicycle intervened. Alexander said she didn’t know the man, but credited him with saving her life. “No one ever did that for me before,” she testified, while wiping away tears.
Prosecutor Sam Dalesandro said the bicyclist was Nathan Halsted, 49. Alexander testified once he intervened, the two defendants attacked him. Brutally beaten and left on the street, Halsted was killed when he was run over by a driver who did not see him, the prosecutor said.
The killing of Halsted prompted Police Chief Jerry Dyer to reveal that a police surveillance video showed the two brothers kicking and punching Halsted in a beating that went on for several minutes. Dyer said the attackers were like “animals pursuing prey.”
Wednesday, Dalesandro played the dark, grainy video in Chittick’s courtroom.
Court records show that Gerald Smith has no prior criminal record as an adult. Jared Smith pleaded no contest June 3 — a few weeks before the deadly attack — to felony corporal injury to a child and no contest to misdemeanor corporal injury to a co-habitant.
In her testimony Wednesday, Alexander, 36, said she was at a bus stop at 3 a.m. when a man approached her and asked her if she wanted to smoke crack cocaine. She said no.
A short time later, man in a pickup truck pulled up. Alexander testified she got in the truck because she thought the man would take her somewhere to get something to eat. “I was hungry,” she testified. But when the driver asked for sex, Alexander testified that she said no and got out of the truck.
That’s when the two defendants confronted her and demanded money, she testified.
Alexander testified that she didn’t know the Smiths, and that she told them she wasn’t a prostitute and had no money. But the defendants cursed her, she said.
Initially, the smaller of the two attackers tried to stop the assault by putting his hands on the chest of the taller brother, Alexander said. But when the smaller attacker couldn’t control the larger one, he joined in, Alexander testified. “I’m a girl. I’m a girl,” Alexander said she told her attackers.
But they keep punching her and stomping on her head, she said.
To determine who was the tallest twin, Chittick ordered the two shackled defendants in red jail jumpsuits to stand. Alexander then testified that the taller attacker was Jared Smith.
Alexander testified that she suffered cuts and bruises from the attack. Because of the beating, she said, she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and some sort of psychosis that causes her to fear young people. “When I see two boys I get scared,” she told the judge. “If I have money, I fear that I will be robbed.”
Fresno police detective Bart Ledbetter, who interviewed the Smiths, also testified. He said the Smiths each gave him their version of the attack.
Chittick said the two defendants will be arraigned May 29 on charges of murder, assault and attempted robbery. If convicted of murder, they each face a minimum of 15 years to life in prison.