County Worker Accompanied Rose Garden Slashing Suspect By MATTHEW ARTZ

Tuesday March 29, 2005

The 16-year-old girl who authorities say slashed the throat of a Berkeley woman near the Rose Garden was with a county worker, assigned to juvenile hall, at the time of the attack, said County Supervisor Keith Carson. 

Carson, who would not disclose the woman’s name, said she had not called police after the incident and had been placed on administrative leave from her part-time job as a guidance counselor. 

He added that it was county policy for social workers stationed at Juvenile Hall not to spend time with clients off the premises, other than in special sanctioned cases. 

The suspect, identified as “Marilyn” of Oakland, is currently in custody at Juvenile Hall awaiting the results of a psychiatric exam requested by her defense attorney. Carson did not know if the counselor had been assigned to the girl during her previous stays in the detention center. 

“We still don’t know if her presence [at the crime scene] was a coincidence or if it was sanctioned by county authorities,” he said. 

Berkeley police officer Steve Rego confirmed that police have spoken to the counselor and added that they would soon turn over their findings to the district attorney. At the time of the March 16 incident, police labeled the counselor as an accomplice, but after they arrested the 16-year-old, they said they knew the identity of the companion and that she was not a suspect. 

In her original statement to police, the counselor said she was merely passing by at the time of the attack, according to Assistant District Attorney Walter Jackson. She has since provided a second statement, he said. 

“I’m going on the assumption that she was the second individual who was at the scene,” said Jackson. 

The 16-year-old has been charged with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon for grabbing a 75-year-old Berkeley woman by the neck and slashing her throat with an eight-inch kitchen knife.