Alleged SEPTA attacker misses trial date, bench warrant issued

The 49-year-old woman accused of attacking a freelance NewsWorks photographer on a SEPTA bus in May did not show up for her trial on those charges Friday.

As a result, Municipal Court Judge James M. DeLeon issued a bench warrant for Cassie Darby’s arrest. A trial date will not be set until she is taken into custody.

 

In August, Darby was ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation to determine her competency to stand trial in connection with the May 31 assault aboard SEPTA’s Route 23 bus in Germantown.

According to court records, Darby was found competent on Aug. 31, and the trial was to commence in Courtroom 806 on Friday morning.

Victim upset with the development

The victim, Bas Slabbers, was there but the defendant, who is charged with simple assault and recklessly endangering another person, was not.

“I’m disappointed that there is time wasted like this,” he said Friday afternoon. “Court [officials], the [assistant] district attorney, detective, reporter, myself and my family all took our responsibility to be present.

“I don’t understand why the defendant wasn’t present,” he continued. “It feels like a game to me.”

The back story

The case had garnered considerable attention when Philadelphia Police officials distributed video of the alleged attack with the hopes of catching the assailant.

Darby was apprehended by diligent SEPTA detectives three weeks after the incident.

Darby allegedly attacked Slabbers on a southbound Route 23 bus travelling on Germantown Avenue, where she allegedly began punching him in the face and head while he was seating and reading e-mails on his phone.

She left the bus at Germantown and Chelten avenues. Slabbers did not require medical attention.

Darby’s lengthy police record includes convictions for retail theft, public drunkenness, drug possession, prostitution and simple assault. According to court records, she is also currently awaiting trial on a charge of possession of a controlled substance.

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