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Woman pleads to assault charge in beating case

WILLMAR — Philomene Rose Skinaway, 20, of Bemidji and formerly of Willmar, pleaded guilty Monday to a third-degree assault charge for her role in beating a woman and then stealing her cell phone in October.

As part of a plea agreement reached in Kandiyohi County District Court, another felony charge of theft will be dismissed. Skinaway also agreed to cooperate with authorities during the trials of her co-defendants, if required. She will be sentenced July 30.

Skinaway was one of three women charged in the case. Micahella Helen Froelich, 21, faces three felony charges, two for assault and one for theft. Her next court date has not been set.

Brandie Ilene Walton, 37, also faces one assault count and one theft count. Her next appearance is July 8 with a jury trial scheduled for July 15.

According to the complaints, a woman reported to Willmar police on Oct. 6 that she had been assaulted by Froelich, Walton and Skinaway.

The woman had visible injuries to her face, had a fractured eye socket, a broken nose and significant bruises to her face and body. She was advised by medical personnel at Rice Memorial Hospital that she would need to follow up with an eye specialist in the Twin Cities.

The woman said she had been bullied by Skinaway at her workplace and had reported the incidents, which resulted in Skinaway being fired from her job at the same business.

She said all three women had entered her bedroom by breaking down the door and assaulted her, with Froelich taking her phone, because Froelich thought she had been taping the beating.

Walton eventually told the other women to stop hitting the victim and then the trio left the residence, but not before Froelich said that if the woman reported the incident to law enforcement, there would be more of the same for the woman.

The phone, an iPhone 5 with a case, was valued at $800.

All three women were interviewed during the investigation, with Froelich and Walton claiming they didn’t assault the woman or enter her bedroom, but that Skinaway had assaulted the woman and yelled at her.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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