From the NY Times:
NEWARK — She lay face-down on the pavement, trying in terror to follow the orders of those who had already robbed and molested her. “Somebody had their knee on my back,” she said, when suddenly, “They pulled my hair up and was trying to chop my neck off with a machete.”
“I guess the knife was dull, because I just felt banging,” Natasha Aeriel told a jury here Thursday morning. “But then I saw a bunch of blood.” Screaming for mercy, she managed to push one attacker off her and rose to flee, when another shot her in the head.
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The sole survivor of a notorious attack in a Newark schoolyard that left her brother and two friends dead almost three years ago, Ms. Aeriel told her story publicly for the first time in State Superior Court in Essex County. She recounted the horror of Aug. 4, 2007, in grim detail, in testimony that is at the heart of the prosecution’s case in the first trial of one of the six men accused in the slayings.
Despite partial facial paralysis from the shooting that forces her to talk from one side of her mouth, Ms. Aeriel, 22, spoke clearly in three and a half hours on the witness stand, pausing just once to regain her composure. But her left hand was in nervous motion much of the time, holding her chin or her cheek, playing with the collar of her light brown jacket or running through her braids.
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