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Tarpon Springs mother pleads guilty to beating up cheerleading coach

TARPON SPRINGS — A Tarpon Springs mother, arrested about a year ago on felony burglary and battery charges after police said she beat up a recreational cheerleading coach, has accepted a plea deal.

Karen Joanne Wood, 42, pleaded guilty last week to a felony burglary charge and a misdemeanor battery charge.

In exchange for the plea, Wood received four years of probation and must pay $5,516.61 in restitution. Wood received credit for the eight days she spent in jail.

"She came in, took all responsibility and wanted to get it over with," said Bruce Bartlett, chief assistant attorney with the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office.

Wood's daughter, Kyersten Wood, 17, also was arrested in the Sept. 5, 2009, incident. Because she is a juvenile, the matter was handled in juvenile court and Bartlett would not say how it was resolved.

Tarpon Springs police said the mother and daughter assaulted Sharell Ortiz, 35, after an altercation the previous night at a local high school football game.

Ortiz told police she was trying to break up a fight at the game between her teenage daughter and Kyersten Wood. Kyersten Wood told police that Ortiz tried to jump her.

The following evening, Karen and Kyersten Wood confronted Ortiz at the Jasmine Sports Complex, where Ortiz was coaching a recreational league cheerleader squad.

Ortiz told police that both Karen and Kyersten Wood began to fight with her and that she tried to get away by entering a small building at the complex.

"Ortiz tried several times to close the door, but Kyersten and Karen continued to pull the door open," a police report said.

Ortiz said Kyersten Wood began to hit her in the face, and both Karen and Kyersten Wood shoved her to the ground, the report said. They both were hitting her in the face.

Ortiz was treated at Helen Ellis Hospital, police said. Her left eye was swollen shut, and she had several bruises on her forehead and both arms, police said.

Demorris A. Lee can be reached at or (727) 445-4174.

Tarpon Springs mother pleads guilty to beating up cheerleading coach 09/09/10 [Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 7:46pm]
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