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Tasha Hill facing charges of her own

Maria-Jos&e

The tables have turned for Tashawnea Hill, a black, U.S. Army reservist who was in the national spotlight a year ago, following her charges that she was the victim of an unprovoked beating a white man,Troy Dale West, at a Cracker Barrel restaurant, in Morrow.

Hill is scheduled to defend herself against allegations of disorderly conduct in Clayton County State Court, probably this spring. Those charges surfaced during the West trial. They stem from an incident on Father's Day, last year, according to Tasha Mosley, the Clayton County Solicitor General.

The accusation against Hill, which was filed in the State Court of Clayton County last September, contends that Hill, without provocation, used obscene, vulgar and profane language in the presence of a minor under the age of 14. The accusation was amended in December to include two additional counts, both accusing Hill of disorderly conduct on two other individuals, which allegedly took place last June 20, in Jonesboro.

A hearing on the charges against Hill was scheduled for Thursday, but it was reset. Solicitor Mosley did not comment on the change. Thursday's scheduled hearing was to give Hill an opportunity to enter a plea, and get the date for her jury trial. The trial and hearing are assigned to Judge Linda Cowen, said Mosley. She said Marcus Thorpe, the county's assistant solicitor general, will try the case.

If Hill is found guilty, the three misdemeanor counts against her each carry a maximum fine of $1,000, and 12 months of probation, Mosley explained.

"We are not recommending jail time," she said.

The initial, alleged disorderly conduct incident involving Hill and her neighbors, was unearthed during West's trial. His attorney, Tony Axam, played a recording of an profanity-laden 9-1-1 call Hill made while she argued with her neighbors. She was heard taunting the mothers of two 15-yea-old boys, who lived in her neighborhood.

At one point on the recording, Hill could be heard calling the mothers offensive names, and claiming that men they were involved with actually wanted to be with Hill.

During the West trial, the two 15-year-old boys testified that Hill threatened to shoot them in their heads, and then, got into an expletive-laden verbal confrontation with their parents. The youths said Hill also accused them of breaking into her home a few days earlier.

Hill testified that she thought the mothers were stalking her, prompting her to call 9-1-1, and get into the profanity-laden exchange. She denied threatening to shoot the youths.

After the West trial ended, Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson said the testimony from the two youths and their mothers was one of the reasons her office sought a plea deal with West.

During the West trial, Hill also was grilled on the stand, West's attorney about two other incidents from her past, including a 2005 incident at a Bed, Bath and Beyond store, in Morrow, in which she allegedly threatened to "cut" another woman, and another previous case in which she accepted a plea deal for allegedly keying another woman's car.

Hill was thrust into the national limelight as the victim of an attack West. The incident generated nationwide interest because it energized activists and others on both sides of the racial divide.

During West's trial last fall, witnesses testified that they saw Hill spit on West, before the attack took place — a claim she denied. The trial ended with West pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges stemming from the attack. He received a one-year sentence, with only six months to be spent in jail.

West was given credit for time already served, leaving with him with 4-and-a-half months left to serve. He was transferred to a prison near Poulan, Ga., after the trial ended, and was released in December, after 43 days in jail, because he participated in a work-release program that allowed him to reduce the length of his sentence.

Cracker Barrel has banned West for life, because of the incident.