2 women charged with attempted murder after violent Berkeley beating

Berkeley Police Department. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Two women, a housewife and a waitress, have been charged with attempted murder and assault likely to produce great bodily injury in connection with the beating that sent a female pedestrian to the hospital with serious injuries Monday night.

After the beating, which left the woman unconscious lying on San Pablo Avenue, one of the assailants confessed to watching as a truck ran over her, according to police.

Mamie Purnell, 39, and Raine Wooten, 32, both of Berkeley, were arrested by BPD detectives Tuesday morning. Thursday afternoon, they each were charged with two felonies by the Alameda County district attorney’s office at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.

Police said in court papers that officers responded Monday to the 3100 block of San Pablo Avenue, at Haskell Street, at about 11:30 p.m. They found a woman in the middle of the street unresponsive “with what appeared to be life threatening injuries.” She was rushed to Highland Hospital, where she had surgery and was listed in critical condition.

San Pablo Avenue was closed overnight until shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday as police conducted their investigation into the crash.

Police reviewed surveillance video prior to the call and saw that the pedestrian had been “severely beaten by two females and left lying in the middle of San Pablo.” Police said Wooten pulled the pedestrian down into the street, then punched her in the head repeatedly. At the same time, according to police, Purnell was kicking the woman over and over in the ribs until she appeared to be unconscious.

“Purnell then proceeded to kick and stomp” on the pedestrian’s head prior to leaving her in the street, police wrote in court papers.

Surveillance footage of the crime scene led police to Wooten, and they sought an arrest warrant for her, according to court documents. When they detained her Tuesday morning, they found her with Purnell, who matched the description of the other assailant in the crime.

Police said they searched Wooten’s home on Fairview and found the clothes she had been wearing during the assault. Police said Wooten later confessed to assaulting the victim, and then “watching her get hit by a truck.” Wooten told police Purnell was the one who kicked the victim in the head, however.

Purnell denied ever seeing the victim and asked for an attorney shortly after her police interview began. Purnell had been out on bail for a May 2017 case involving the use of tear gas, and vandalism causing more than $400 damage. Both are felonies.

When police searched Purnell’s home after obtaining a search warrant, they said they also found the clothing she wore the night of the attack, along with three firearms in her bedroom.

Both women remain in custody without bail. Their next court appearance was not immediately available.