No charges in Town Square assault case
After an extensive investigation into an alleged assault at Town Square bar on Jan. 12 by the Sonoma Police Department, Sonoma’s City Prosecutor has declined to file charges in the case, citing a lack of evidence into how the attack began.
“There’s conflicting testimony about who started it,” explained City Prosecutor Bob Smith, whose office handles all misdemeanor cases in Sonoma. One woman went to the hospital, Police Chief Bret Sackett said
The incident occurred early on Saturday, Jan. 12, between three women at the bar, which sent Kristina Lucenti, 42, to Sonoma Valley Hospital with a possible concussion, two black eyes and extensive bruising on her body. Lucenti said she had broken up with her longtime boyfriend on Jan. 10, and that the two alleged assailants are her ex’s sister and cousin. In turn, the two females said that Lucenti attacked them.
After being inundated with different versions of night’s event, the Index-Tribune acquired the surveillance video from all four cameras in Town Square for the night of Jan. 12. Because much of the incident occurred in the women’s restroom, where cameras are not allowed, it only shows the events before and after the alleged assault. The tape’s clock was not set to the correct time, but will be referenced here for the purpose of establishing a timeline.
In the video, Lucenti can be seen seated at the bar, playing dice with two other patrons. The two other women eventually sit in the booth directly behind Lucenti. The two parties never exchange words, although it does appear that the two female relatives repeatedly point and laugh at Lucenti in the hour leading up to the fight. The two women can be seen finishing a bottle of beer before leaving the bar at 2:44:18 a.m., according to the video time code.
Lucenti gets up from her seat at 2:44:38 a.m., and makes her away through the bar to the bathroom. Moments later, at 2:44:51 a.m., the two women re-enter the bar and appear to hurry to the restroom, pushing through the crowd and arriving at the bathroom door just four seconds after Lucenti. In an interview with the Index-Tribune on Jan. 14, one of the women said she had no idea Lucenti was in the bathroom.
Minutes pass as the three women are in the bathroom, drawing no attention in the noisy bar. At 2:50:12 an unidentified man waiting for the restroom hears something that causes him to look inside the women’s room. He quickly retreats from the bathroom to alert bartender Rick O’Rourke, who then disappears into the woman’s room. A full minute later, that same man notifies Town Square’s other bartender, Ryan O’Rourke, who also heads into the bathroom.
Another full minute passes before Ryan O’Rourke can be seen carrying Lucenti out of the bathroom, pushing her into a nearby storage closet and shutting the door. Seconds later Rick O’Rourke emerges and says something to the two female relatives, who both appear to be fixing their hair as they slip out the back door by the bathroom at 2:52:32 a.m. Police lights can be seen seconds after they get into a taxi and leave the scene.
Sackett and Smith agreed that, due to the uncertainty of what occurred within the bathroom, there was not enough evidence to move forward with charges against anyone involved in the incident.