The Homicide Report

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Dispatch: Young mother dies after a punch to the face

July 6, 2009 | 10:28 pm

Shortly after 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 9, Lennox sheriff's deputies received a 911 call that a person had collapsed and was not breathing at a residence in the 1100 block of 91st Street in unincorporated Los Angeles County.

When authorities arrived at the home, they found Ashley Hassan, a 23-year-old black female, on the floor. Her boyfriend, Derrick Hill, a 22-year-old black male, was giving her CPR. Paramedics determined that Hassan was in full cardiac arrest and took her to Centinela Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

Witnesses, including the couple’s 3-year-old-daughter, told deputies that Hill had punched Hassan in the face with a closed fist.

Later that morning, authorities arrested Hill in connection with Hassan’s death. They believe that Hill’s punch triggered her cardiac arrest and untimely death.

Los Angeles County coroner’s officials have not yet determined a cause of death. Hassan’s autopsy is deferred while her medical history is reviewed and further tests are done. Results will not be released for another 6 to 8 weeks, coroner’s officials said.

Hill was initially scheduled to enter his plea on charges of murder at Inglewood Municipal Court on June 24.

Hill listened in court as Commissioner John R. Johnson state the charges against him. He shook his head when bail was set to $1 million. At the appearance, Hill’s arraignment was moved to July 13 to give his defense more time to review the case.

When asked for a statement, his public defender, Michael R. Powell, called Hassan’s death a case with “extraordinary circumstances.” Powell said he was waiting for the coroner to determine her cause of death.

According to court records, Hill was arrested in 2006 on suspicion of domestic violence against Hassan. Charges were filed. However Hassan did not provide testimony and the charges were dismissed, according to Sgt. Barry Hall of the sheriff's Homicide Bureau.

Currently the couple’s daughter is in the care of a close relative of Hassan.

-- Sarah Ardalani