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Shopping cart stunt: Boys plead not guilty in woman's head injury

November 4, 2011 |  1:14 pm

Shopping cartsTwo 12-year-old boys pleaded not guilty in family court Friday to felony assault charges after pushing a shopping cart from a mall skyway, where it fell onto a woman -- leaving her fighting for her life with critical head injuries.

Despite their attorneys' pleas, a judge ordered the two boys to remain in custody instead of allowing them to go home. They are accused of sending the shopping cart hurtling four stories downward onto people at a mall in Manhattan on Sunday. It hit Marion Salmon Hedges, 47, as she walked with her 13-year-old son. He was not hurt.

"It's a terrible thing, and I hope she recuperates," the mother of one of the accused told reporters after the court hearing in lower Manhattan. "I really, really, really feel for her and her children." Neither of the boys' names or the names of relatives have been released because they are juveniles.

New York's Daily News, in a story Thursday, described another boy's attempts to prevent the pair from throwing the shopping cart, quoting a woman identified as one boy's grandmother as expressing shock that her grandson would do such a thing.

The newspaper has quoted the victim's husband, Michael Hedges, as saying his wife faces months of rehabilitation.

The lawyer for one of the boys, Shahabuddeen Ally, argued for his client to be released to his family instead of held in juvenile custody, saying there was no intention to harm anyone when he helped pushed the shopping cart over a 42-inch-high retaining wall. Ally said he would continue to push for the boy's release in future court appearances. 

Both boys were ordered to appear in court Nov. 18 for trial.

The incident has sparked demands for new city building codes to heighten fences or retaining walls on walkways similar to the one from which the shopping cart was thrown. City Councilman James Vacca has proposed legislation that would require private developers to put up 8-foot fences.


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Photo illustration: Dropped from one story, a shopping cart can do damage. One dropped four stories left a woman with critical head injuries. Credit: Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times