OBERLIN — Two women charged with assault were just trying to help their friend when they saw him running out of Gibson’s Bakery in November, their attorney said Wednesday following a pretrial in Oberlin Municipal Court.
“They saw a friend involved in an incident and decided they were justified in trying to help a friend,” attorney Jack Bradley said. “That’s all they did.”
A jury trial is scheduled April 24 for Endia Lawrence and Cecelia Whettstone, who police said had a hand in beating up Allyn Gibson, whose family owns the bakery, after he chased alleged shoplifter Jonathan Aladin out of his store.
According to police, Aladin, 19, allegedly tried to buy a bottle of wine at Gibson’s Bakery while also concealing two bottles of wine under his shirt. After Allyn Gibson refused to sell him the wine, he confronted Aladin about the bottles of wine he suspected the Oberlin College student of trying to steal.
Aladin then allegedly slapped Gibson’s phone out of his hand, causing it to strike his face and then took off running, breaking two bottles of wine on his way out, police said.
Gibson pursued him out the door and across the street, where there was a physical confrontation. When police arrived, they said they saw Gibson, who is white, on the ground with Aladin, Lawrence and Whettstone — all three of whom are black — punching him, the report said.
The incident touched off days of protests and counterprotests in Oberlin.
Aladin’s case has been forwarded to Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will’s office for review when the felony robbery charge he initially faced was dismissed by prosecutors after Oberlin Municipal Court Judge Thomas Januzzi rejected a plea deal.
Oberlin Prosecutor Frank Carlson presented a plea deal to Januzzi in which Aladin would have pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of attempted theft, a misdemeanor, but Januzzi rejected it.
Bradley said Carlson won’t present a plea deal for the women because Januzzi rejected the deal for Aladin.
“He feels that all the students should be treated the same,” Bradley said.
Carlson didn’t return a call seeking comment Wednesday.
- Supporters rally around Gibson's (VIDEO)
- Gibson's sues Oberlin College
- 5. Gibson's suspects plead guilty; store sues Oberlin College
- Body camera footage shows aftermath of arrest at Oberlin business
- Trio in Gibson's theft plead guilty
- Gibson's trio face felony charges
- Gibson's suspects' trial pushed back; county charges may be coming
- Women in Gibson's case face felony charges; misdemeanors dropped
- Gibson's trio enters pleas of not guilty
- Oberlin College resumes contract with Gibson's
- Gibson's shoplift case heads to county prosecutor
- Felony charge dropped against alleged Gibson's shoplifter; case appears headed to grand jury
- Suspect in Gibson's shoplifting has Dec. 14 date in Oberlin Municipal Court
- College skips Gibson's order as situation is evaluated
- Oberlin protesters return for second day
- Shoppers flock to Gibson's Bakery in Oberlin
- LIVE VIDEO: Protesters and counter-protesters return to Gibson's in Oberlin
- VIDEO: Protests at Gibson's in Oberlin
- Shoplifting arrest incites protests at Gibson's in Oberlin