LANCASTER – Around 3 p.m. on Dec. 25, 49-year-old Jacqueline Hughes was lying down at home watching television when she heard a commotion outside involving her husband.
“I heard him screaming like somebody was hitting him, so I jumped up to see what was going on,” said Hughes.
Hughes says she rushed outside and was confronted by a nearly six-foot tall, heavyset woman who was surrounded by a group of men.
“I didn’t know her at all, I had never seen her or laid eyes on her before,” Hughes said.
Still, the woman began to yell a string of expletives at Hughes before one of the men tripped Hughes down to the ground, Hughes said.
“I saw her pick up a big rock and hit me in the head with it… I was dazed like ‘oh my God!’” said Hughes. “There was blood running down my face and then I got hit again, and that’s all I remember.”
Hughes was rushed to the hospital and spent the next two days fighting for her life in a medically induced coma.
“I didn’t think she was going to make it to tell you the truth,” said Hughes’ common law husband, Tan Carter, 51. “It scared the hell out of me.”
Officials say the woman responsible for the vicious Christmas Day beating is 34-year-old Lancaster resident Lachelle Robinson.
“Lachelle Robinson is being charged with attempted murder,” said Lancaster Sheriff’s Station spokesman Michael Rust.
Robinson was arrested at her home around 5 p.m., Dec. 25, and jailed on $1 million bail.
“I personally can’t remember a time when we had an assault of this magnitude on Christmas Day,” said Rust. “It’s shocking to me… I just don’t understand it.”
The details behind why the incident took place are convoluted and difficult to understand, as well.
“It is Jerry Springer,” said Rust.
The drama stemmed from a love triangle turned violent between Hughes’ stepson, his current girlfriend and Robinson’s daughter.
Hughes’ stepson (who did not want to be named for fear of retaliation) says he was previously involved in a romantic relationship with Robinson’s daughter, Yomisha “Mimi” Jenkins, and the two have a young son together. Mimi was at the house with their son earlier that day when his new girlfriend, who is pregnant, came by the house with her sister to drop off Christmas gifts.
The stepson says Mimi, angered by his girlfriend’s pregnancy, attempted to pick a fight with her outside the house. He says his girlfriend’s sister came to her aid and fought Mimi in the street outside of the house, while their young son sat in the car.
“After the fight is over, the child’s mother (Mimi) leaves with the child and on her way home, she calls Mom (Robinson) to tell her what happened,” said Deputy Rust. “So Mom decided to take matters in her own hands and goes over with a bunch of guys to take revenge on the father of the child; he is not there so they seek revenge on the grandfather of the child.”
Hughes’ husband, Tan Carter, says he went outside as Robinson and about 10 men pulled up to the house. The men asked for his son, and when he told them his son was no longer at home, they began beating him in his back and head as he ran back into the house to call the police.
As Carter was calling the police, Hughes went outside, and that’s when the assault began.
“The suspect picks up a 20-pound rock the size of a bowling ball, raises it and smashes her (Hughes) in the head,” Rust said. “You can imagine, you’re lying on the ground and somebody takes a large boulder and smashes you in the forehead with it.”
Carter said by the time he came back outside, his wife was covered in blood.
“Her head’s pouring blood, her mouth’s pouring blood, she was not even breathing,” he said. “I thought she was dying at the time.”
Hughes was rushed to the hospital and placed in a medically induced coma for two days.
Today, Hughes is out of the hospital, but her recovery is far from over. She’s wearing a neck brace and a back brace, there’s a huge open wound on her forehead, her lip is split, her front teeth are knocked out, and she may be facing another surgery.
“I will be going through either therapy or surgery after this brace comes off,” she said. “The doctor said an inch more and I would have been paralyzed from the waist down.”
Robinson was charged Wednesday with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and mayhem. She has pleaded not guilty to all the charges and remains in jail on $1 million bail.
“I’d like to see her pay for what she did to me,” Hughes said. “I’m suffering and I will be suffering for a long time.”