Judge John Doran ordered that separate awards of $1.1 million be paid to Akeisha Turner, a stripper at Chelsea’s Gentleman’s Club in Athens, and her roommate, Daneane Robinson, stemming from what their attorney called a “terrifying” case of assault with a deadly weapon.
The ordeal was “a living nightmare,” said attorney Mel Hewitt, “and they’re lucky to be alive.”
According to court documents, Turner was picked up by Robinson in the early morning hours of July 1, following a shift at the topless club. Two bar patrons – Jose Vincente Targa-Rivera and Enrique Grandos-Terrazas – followed the women as they left.
As Robinson and Turner traveled Ga. Highway 316 through Gwinnett in Robinson’s 2005 Hyundai Sante Fe, the men neared in a GMC Sierra driven by Targa-Rivera and fired several shots from a Daisy pellet gun. The projectiles shattered the Hyundai’s rear window, spraying the women with broken glass and causing minor cuts, the documents say.
Robinson called 911 from her cell phone, and Gwinnett police apprehended the men moments later on Interstate 85, Hewitt said. They later pleaded guilty to assault charges in Barrow County, Hewitt said.
Hewitt said he’s not sure what their motivation was for opening fire.
Tuesday’s ruling on damages involved only Targa-Rivera, while cases against his counterpart and the strip club are pending, Hewitt said.
Hewitt said he anticipates the strip club and Grandos-Terrazas will be ordered to pay similar amounts. He conceded that actually reaping the cash could be a tricky affair.
“Getting the judgment and getting the money are two different things,” Hewitt said. “We can attack (Targa-Rivera’s) property, his income, his assets for a lot of years.”
Doran, the judge, was unavailable for comment Friday afternoon, a representative of his office said.
The suit claims Chelsea’s was negligent in that it didn’t provide security for Turner – who, like most dancers, was known to be loaded with cash – as she walked to Robinson’s car that night. The defendants had been harassing Turner prior to her exit from work, the suit says.
Turner quit her job after the incident, Hewitt said.
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