The courtroom was packed on Tuesday morning when a former University of Hartford student accused of smearing bodily fluids on her roommate's belongings made a court appearance.
Brianna Brochu, 18, faced a judge in Hartford Superior Court on charges of criminal mischief and breach of peace.
Supporters of the victim, Chennel Rowe, said they want more charges to be added because they believed this incident was racially driven. Prosecutors confirmed that they're determining whether or not to add a hate crime charge. However, there were no new charges against Brochu in court on Tuesday.
The state's attorney's office issued a statement on the matter by late Tuesday morning.
"There will be no comment on the hate crime charge because it is an open case," the office said. "If Brianna gets charged with a hate crime, it will happen when she is seen in court. It will not be announced ahead of time."
Before Brochu appeared in court, the Greater Hartford NAACP held a rally. It posted on its Facebook page on Monday asking everyone to attend.
The group packed the courtroom for Brochu's appearance. There were so many people, some were told to stand in the hall.
According to West Hartford police, Brochu admitted to tampering with Rowe's lotions, backpack and more in an effort to get Rowe, who is black, to leave. Brochu then boasted about what she did on Instagram and called Rowe "Jamaican Barbie."
Police said a few weeks ago that they wanted to add a bigotry or bias charge but have since handed the investigation over to the state's attorney's office.
Brochu’s attorney Tom Stevens maintained this incident has nothing to do with race and there’s no evidence to support that claim. Stevens simply said the two girls didn’t get along and his client hit a tipping point.
The case has garnered national attention.
Channel 3 did not see Rowe in the courtroom on Tuesday. Brochu had her case continued to Dec. 18. At that point, she’ll appear on the pre-trial docket and Stevens said Brochu is likely to make a plea.
Stay with Channel 3 for the latest in this case.
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