Thursday, February 15, 2024

"This type of violence will not be tolerated..."

Jugging Victim Paralyzed in Brutal Assault – Attacker shows no Remorse

By Robert A. Waters

Note: Jugging occurs when an individual withdraws cash from a bank or ATM and then that person is followed by a robber who attempts to steal the money, usually after the victim stops his or her automobile. Jugging has become common in many crime-ridden cities.

On the morning of February 13, 2023, forty-four-year-old Nhung Truong (pictured below) drove to the Bank of America on Blackhawk Boulevard in Houston, Texas. She withdrew $4,300 in cash, money she’d saved working at a nail salon for seven years. Truong planned to use the cash to fly her family back to Vietnam to visit relatives.


As she drove to the Belleair shopping center where she worked, the petite mother of three didn't realize she was being followed. Long-time criminals Zy’Nika Ayesha Woods, 19, and her boyfriend, Joseph Harrell, 17, trailed Troung for 24 miles.

After parking, Truong took the family's passports and the envelope with her money and walked toward her place of business.

A surveillance camera caught the robbery in living color.

At about 11:30 A.M., while Woods waited in the car, Harrell stalked his prey. He approached Truong as she walked down the sidewalk. Sensing that Harrell had invaded her space, Truong attempted to move out of his way, but he suddenly seized her around her waist and flung her against a wall. The items she carried, including the envelope with her money, flew from her hand and were strewn across the sidewalk. Truong then collapsed onto the concrete.

DailyMail reporter Lewis Pennock wrote: “In the video, the thief could be seen snatching an envelope that police believe he thought was Truong’s cash from her scattered belongings. He began to flee but then [turned] around and body slammed Truong to the ground and fled with the [envelope containing her] money.” 

The attack was over in seconds.

The city of Houston reeled in shock. It’s sometimes hard to ascertain why some cases go viral while others don’t, but this one had all the ingredients that terrorize people. An innocent victim and mother of three lay hospitalized with broken ribs and a fractured spine. Unable to walk, doctors opined that she might never make a full recovery. 

Harrell, already out on bond for a weapons charge, would later be charged with yet another robbery that occurred just days after this assault. In one of the dumb things criminals sometimes do, he posted a photo of himself on Tik Tok wearing the same distinctive shirt he wore during Troung’s assault.

A few weeks later, Harrell was identified and arrested. A judge initially set his bond at $200,000.

Authorities routinely record jailhouse telephone conversations, and the public got an earful from Harrell. “We was snatching purses,” he told a friend. “I snatched a purse. Basically when I snatched the purse the lady ran with the money. I grabbed her and slammed her and she’s paralyzed.” Harrell can be heard chuckling as he recounts the crime.

When the friend explained that Truong had received $230,000 from a “gofundme” page, Harrell brightened up even more. He opined that he shouldn’t be charged with any crime because the victim would now be okay.

But the victim would not be okay.

Houston Police Chief Troy Finner held a press conference and said, “This type of violence will not be tolerated in our city. It is just senseless. I just spoke to Ms. Troung…and assured her, and I want the city of Houston to stand behind us. These are very serious injuries. The recovery is very long. And I want her to know the love of our agency but also the great citizens in this city.”

Citizens did respond and raised more than $250,000 to help the injured woman pay her medical bills.

Then Houston's completely broken criminal justice system struck back against law-abiding citizens...again. Yet another Houston judge, this time a Republican, reduced Harrell’s bond by half. Judge Kristin Guiney reset his bond to $100,000. Fortunately for the Houston community, though, Harrell was still unable to make bond and get out of jail.

At trial, Harrell pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated robbery causing serious bodily injury. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Insiders familiar with the Texas justice system, however, say it’s likely he’ll be out in 15. (Watch out, Hustletown, when a fully matured and even meaner Joseph Harrell returns to your fair city.)

His accomplice, Ny’Nika Woods, pleaded guilty to a downgraded charge of robbery causing bodily injury. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Speaking in Vietnamese, Troung told reporters that “I’m feeling very horrible and sad at the same time. They don’t know when my leg can walk again. I need to practice, try to walk and stuff. I’m very sad that this happened to me and I just want to let other people know to be careful.”

No comments: