Make us your home page

Details emerge in beating of teenage girl in Lakeland

BARTOW — Mary Nichols was disturbed as she watched the videotaped beating of 16-year-old Victoria Lindsay.

"I don't care what anybody does," Mary Nichols told a ­detective. "Nobody deserves to be beat like that."

Nichols, 63, was troubled that her granddaughter, Mercades, was one of eight teenagers accused of participating in the beating of the Mulberry High cheerleader that occurred in Nichols' Highlands City home.

"I just want her to get well," Nichols said of her 17-year-old granddaughter, according to a transcript of an interview with investigators. "And I really feel that it's … a psychological thing that she needs to get some kind of help."

Nichols' statement is included in investigative reports and witness statements released by prosecutors this week.

On Wednesday, a Polk County circuit judge lifted a gag order that had been issued by another judge earlier this month. He wrote that all parties agreed.

Mercades Nichols and five other girls are accused of filming the beating, and threatening to post it on MySpace and YouTube. April Cooper, 14, Brittany Mayes, 17, Kayla Hassall, 15, Brittini Hardcastle, 17, and Cara Murphy, 16, were also arrested.

Zachary Ashley, 17, and Stephen Schumaker, 18, are accused of acting as lookouts during the attack.

Each of the eight teens face kidnapping and battery charges. The kidnapping charges are first-degree felonies that carry a maximum life sentence in prison. The battery charges carry a maximum sentence of a year in jail.

The newly released records provide details into the March 30 incident, including transcripts of interviews with people involved.

Lindsay told detectives she sent a text message to Mercades Nichols to tell her that she was coming back from the beach.

Nichols was upset that Lindsay hadn't repaid her $4 in gas money, and Lindsay promised to settle the debt once she got her paycheck. Lindsay said she asked Nichols why she was nagging her. Lindsay said Nichols sent her a text message telling her not to talk to her like that and that she could find somewhere else to stay.

Lindsay told the detectives that Nichols warned her "when I come in the house I better not have an attitude or her or Brittany will beat (me) and she's not going to stop it."

But as Lindsay returned with a friend to Lakeland, Nichols' attitude changed. She "became very nice" and kept calling to check on her, Lindsay said.

Christine Dorsett, 19, of Orlando had given Lindsay a ride to the house. Dorsett told investigators she waited about five minutes after Lindsay went in. She came back out with her things after she had been kicked out.

Dorsett said some girls came outside and were "cussing" at Lindsay, who was crying, and "calling her very crude names."

Dorsett said she encouraged the girls to let Lindsay use a telephone. Nichols agreed to let Lindsay go inside.

"So she went inside and I left," Dorsett said. "And, then, I guess, we found out the next day that they had beaten her up, she was in the hospital."

Details emerge in beating of teenage girl in Lakeland 04/23/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 11:54am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours