A love triangle left one woman and her 3-year-old daughter suffering from severe burns after a D.C. woman instructed her friend to throw an acidlike substance on them, according to Prince George's County prosecutors.
Tamara Jackson, 31, faces two counts of first- and second-degree assault, as well as charges of conspiracy to commit assault, as the alleged mastermind of the March 2011 incident, in which she recruited a friend to stake out the home of her ex-boyfriend's former flame, prosecutors said.
The incident sent Oxon Hill resident Katrina Watts and her then-3-year-old daughter to the hospital with severe burns to the face and scalp. Watts also suffered scarring on her thigh and was hospitalized for weeks.
"These were two points in a love triangle of an unfortunately common situation of one man trying to juggle two women," Prince George's Assistant State's Attorney Christine Murphy said Tuesday in county Circuit Court.
Murphy argued Jackson was upset that Watts was dating her former boyfriend, Anthony Steward -- whom Watts had dated years before, when she gave birth to the couple's daughter.
Jackson recruited her friend, Tikia Anderson, and the two waited in a parking lot outside Watts' grandmother's home in Oxon Hill, prosecutors said. When Watts arrived from the grocery store with her daughter, Jackson took a substance from a brown paper bag, poured it into a metal cup, and instructed Anderson to take the acidic substance and throw it on Watts, according to prosecutors.
"You throw it, she'll recognize me" were Jackson's instructions, Murphy said in her opening arguments.
Watts remains visibly injured by the incident, with scarring along her cheek and permanent loss of hair. And prosecutors showed a picture of her daughter, taken while she was being treated at Children's National Medical Center, showing severe burn marks across her face and a left eye swollen shut from burns around her eye socket.
Elaine Lamb, a pediatric burn specialist who helped treat the girl, said most of the wounds will fully heal. But the girl's hair, which fell out in clumps that day because of the deep burns suffered near the front of her head, will never grow back, Lamb said.
Jackson also tried to cover up her crime by lying to police and paying for Anderson to have her SUV painted a different color to throw off the investigation, Murphy said. Police eventually identified the vehicle, which was shown in security footage of the parking lot.
Douglas Wood, Jackson's attorney, sought to discredit Anderson, who agreed to testify against Jackson as a part of a plea bargain that netted her an eight-year sentence for her role in the crime.
Jackson had no idea Watts and Steward were back together, or even talking, Wood said.