3 enter pleas in assault, burglary

Published 9:40 am Friday, July 31, 2009

Two people have pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from an alleged July 17 apartment break-in and assault, while a third man pleaded guilty.

Nichole Marie Zankou, 25, and Jesus Detomas Perales, 29, both pleaded not guilty Thursday to multiple felony counts of assault and burglary for allegedly breaking into a Western Manor apartment and attacking a 24-year-old female.

A third suspect, Nathan Cameron Whiteaker, 28, pleaded guilty to a felony burglary charge.

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The incident in question occurred July 17 around 6:45 p.m. at 2700 Third Ave. S.W. According to a police report, the three suspects knocked on the door, and Zankou asked the alleged victim where the woman’s husband was.

Perales and Zankou then allegedly dragged the victim into the hallway, where Zankou kicked her while she lay on the floor. Whiteaker allegedly stood in the hallway to block the view.

A friend of the victim attempted to call police, but Perales allegedly took her cell phone.

When police arrived, the suspects had left. The victim had a bloody towel on her face, a swollen eye and scratches around her neck. She was taken by ambulance, according to the report.

Police were able to track the suspects to the 1400 block of Sixth Avenue Northwest, and saw a silver van like one that had been seen leaving the scene, the report states.

Perales and Zankou both denied any involvement when questioned. Police noticed fresh cuts and scratches on Zankou’s face, and told her she was under arrest.

Zankou began to fight police while being arrested, flailing her arms and scratching the police vehicle with a pair of sunglasses. She also yelled obscenities at the officers, according to the report.

Police responded with a taser, the report says.

A few people gathered around during the arrest and claimed police brutality. This included Whiteaker, who was arrested after walking up to police with a camera.

Zankou and Perales are both scheduled for pre-trial appearances on Oct. 23; Whiteaker is scheduled for sentencing that day.