CINCINNATI (AP) - A woman accused of helping her teenage daughter beat up a fellow student in a Cincinnati high school classroom has tearfully testified that the second teen started the fight. Precious Allen says she was at the classroom so her daughter could pick up her things. Allen says the 15-year-old student began cursing at her and calling her names, then used an open hand to push Allen's head back. Allen says the two teens began fighting and she pulled her daughter away, but the other teen attacked again. Allen also says she tried to shield her daughter before the fight was ended. Allen pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor assault and trespassing charges. The prosecution and defense are expected to give closing arguments Friday afternoon before the case goes to the jury. Allen faces up to one year in jail if convicted of both charges. The case will then be in the jurors' hands; they could reach a decision as early as Friday, and the judge in the case has said she hopes to avoid having the matter carry into Monday. Authorities accuse Allen of punching, kicking and holding down a 15-year-old girl as Allen's daughter, then 14, hit the girl in the face with a combination lock. The trial, which began Wednesday, has included testimony from the 15-year-old girl that Allen is accused of assaulting, two teenage witnesses who tried to break up the Feb. 7 brawl, the teacher in the classroom at the time and the arresting officer. Everyone has offered differing accounts of what happened, with the 15-year-old saying that Allen's daughter began hitting her after her mother egged her on, and that Allen ended up joining in. Two teenagers who witnessed the fight and tried to stop it testified for the prosecution on Thursday, painting Allen and her daughter as the instigators of the fight. But under cross-examination, Deters pointed out that their own handwritten statements after the brawl said that the 15-year-old hit Allen first.
A police officer testified that now-missing surveillance video of part of the fight showed Allen grabbing the 15-year-old and slamming her to the ground, while the teacher who was in the hallway at the time and the two teenage witnesses said they saw no such thing. The 15-year-old testified that after Allen and her daughter attacked her in the classroom, she followed them out into a hallway to continue to fight Allen's daughter, but that Allen tried to hold her back. "She grabbed me. She was pulling me," the 15-year-old testified. "She didn't want me to fight her daughter again." Prosecutor Eric Cook told jurors Allen "acted like a child" trying to settle the dispute herself. But Deters told jurors that Allen was just trying to protect her daughter. He has suggested the 15-year-old girl is a bully and implied that she pulled out her own hair after the fight and before a photo was taken of her to show bloody cuts under her left eye. Deters also has questioned how surveillance video that captured part of the fight wasn't preserved, and suggested it was deleted intentionally because it showed that the alleged victim was the aggressor. Allen has filed a federal lawsuit against police and the school over the missing video.