The trial of a Washington, D.C., woman accused of asking a friend to throw a caustic drain cleaner in the faces of an Oxon Hill mother and her 3-year-old child two years ago, began Monday in Prince George's County Circuit Court.
Tamara Jackson, 30, is being tried on first- and second-degree assault charges after prosecutors allege she asked her friend Tikia Shauntice Anderson, 31, of Bladensburg to throw a cup of Drano into the face of the woman who was dating her former boyfriend.
Prosecutor Sherrie Waldrup said Jackson asked Anderson, then of Greenbelt, to drive to the woman's Oxon Hill home and throw the liquid because the victim might recognize her.
Jackson's defense attorney, Douglas Wood, said she never was in Anderson's burgundy Ford Expedition and that Anderson acted on her own.
Anderson, who pleaded guilty in July to assault, is expected to testify against Jackson this week as part of a plea deal for an eight-year sentence. Wood said Anderson could have faced 50 years behind bars for first-degree assault. Sentencing is scheduled for April 23.
Wood said Jackson never was jealous of the victim because of her prior relationship with Anthony Stewart, who testified to being romantically involved with both women from 2005 until 2008, when Stewart and the victim broke up.
Wood told jurors that testimony would reveal that witnesses only saw Anderson at the scene of the crime.
"She is a manipulator," Wood said of Anderson. "She is testifying in this case to save herself."
Stewart, whose daughter with the victim also was burned in the attack, said he was engaged to Jackson in 2009 but the engagement was called off. They stopped being in a relationship in March 2010, and Stewart began talking with the victim again before she was attacked, Stewart testified on Monday.
After Anderson's attack on the woman and her daughter, Stewart said he asked Jackson if she had heard anything about it and Jackson denied hearing the news.
Unknown to Jackson, Prince George's County Police worked on finding a connection between Jackson and a burgundy Ford Expedition that witnesses told officers they saw leaving the scene after the attack.
Detectives developed Anderson as a suspect after combing Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration records. Police visited Anderson's residence to find a black Ford Expedition, but noticed undertones of burgundy from a paint job, Waldrup said.
Anderson was arrested in January 2011, and Jackson denied knowing Anderson when county police detectives later questioned her.
Detectives showed Stewart a series of images of women and Stewart picked out Anderson's face, remembering her as a friend of Jackson's. Stewart testified he later asked Jackson, "Why didn't you tell me it was [Tikia]?"
"She stated she knew I would get upset," Stewart said. "She wanted to find out the information herself before finding out who it really was."
One month after Anderson pleaded guilty in July, 2011, to assault charges and agreed to testify in the case, Jackson was arrested, according to online court records.