Woman guilty of battery in salon beating case

The defendant, Cavenia Bryant, had waived her trial to a jury trial, so a judge heard the case instead, in what is known as a bench trial. Although the trial lasted only one day, there were plenty of fireworks, so much that six deputies were assigned to keep order in the courtroom.

Even before the proceeding began, tempers between family members of the beating victim and the accused erupted in the courtroom. Sheriff's deputies had to escort some of them out.

"They were trying to intimidate us in court," said Delois Seals, mother of the beating victim. "They were trying to mean mug us and talking about them and stuff, and saying things."

Bryant was charged with misdemeanors of battery and false imprisonment for a five-minute attack at Seals' Oakland salon last May.

Seals testified that a group of about a half-dozen people ganged up on her, punched her, kicked her and prevented her from leaving. A friend videotaped the beating and put it on the Internet. Seals believes an ex-boyfriend set up the attack.

Seals had difficulty testifying throughout the trial, breaking into tears several times. She told the court she could not watch the videotape again, so the judge looked at it in chambers. Then Seals exploded during cross-examination by Bryant's attorney, David Kelvin.

"When you question me you get your business straight," said Seals during cross-examination. "Quit dating your customers, and you have a wife."

Seals said she had it and left the courtroom.

When Bryant took the stand, she told the court all she wanted to do that day was to ask her about the rumors she says Seals spread about her sexual activities. But Bryant admitted she lost her temper and began hitting her. Bryant said she had no preconceived plan to prevent her from leaving the salon.

In the end, the judge found her guilty of battery and false imprisonment.

"God is good," said Seals. "I've been suffering for so long, a whole year. I've been through more in one year than people go through in a lifetime."

Another person, Jaymillia Edgerton, was also charged with battery and false imprisonment. However, she remains a fugitive.

Neither Bryant or her attorney would comment after the trial. Sentencing is set for Friday morning.

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