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Woman sentenced in beating of war veteran

BRENTWOOD - A woman was sentenced to 6 months in jail for taking part in the beating of an Afghanistan war veteran, kicking the victim as he pleaded for help outside of a Portsmouth nightclub last July.

Anna Battle, 22, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault on Friday morning in Rockingham County Superior Court as part of a plea deal with county prosecutors. It marked the fourth conviction for the attack of Army veteran Steven Bohn last July 16 after he left the Page Restaurant in Portsmouth.

Bohn, a Purple Heart recipient, was already suffering from injuries he suffered in a blast from a 2,000-pound explosive outside of Kabul, Afghanistan, in November 2008.

"What you did that night was vicious and mean, and instead of helping a man who was being beaten you lashed out at him and contributed to some very serious injuries that he suffered," Judge William Delker said to Battle on Friday morning.

Bohn was dancing at the downtown nightspot last July 16 celebrating a friend's birthday when he bumped into two people on the dance floor, prosecutors said.

A yelling match led bouncers to ask the group to leave. Moments later, Bohn was beaten by two men, Daniel May, 23 and Paul Hayes, 27, and left on the ground of a nearby parking lot when he reached for Battle's ankle in asking for help, according to Assistant County Attorney Howard Helrich.

Battle stomped on Bohn's abdomen, saying "Don't (expletive) touch me," exacerbating a ruptured spleen, Helrich said.

Bohn was only able to give a general description of the woman to police, but another witness who met Battle that night told investigators that she talked about the assault.

"She said it a couple of times to the point that she felt she was bragging about it," Helrich said.

A fourth defendant, Jessica King, 34, of Portsmouth was sentenced in November to a nine-month jail sentence for also kicking Bohn. May and Hayes are currently serving state prison sentences. All four people pleaded guilty to second-degree assault.

Battle had hoped for a three-month jail term, arguing she had no prior criminal record.

Helrich argued for a 12-month sentence with three months suspended for good behavior.

Delker said he was disturbed that Battle decided to participate in the attack, even though she had no real connection to the initial encounter inside the dance club.

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James A. Kimble may be reached at

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