Norwalk mom, daughter indicted in bathroom assault

Cary Ashby • Jan 16, 2014 at 11:23 PM

A Norwalk mother-daughter duo have been indicted in connection with assaulting a woman while they waited in line to use the restroom at Margaritaville.

The daughter also was arrested on a drug-related charge stemming from an incident at their home and sentenced to jail.

Debbie Kerns, 41, and her daughter, Alyson Gahagan, 22, both of 7 Henry St., were indicted this week by an Erie County grand jury. Kerns is charged with complicity to felonious assault while Gahagan was indicted on felonious assault.

The second-degree felonies are in connection with a Sept. 7 incident.

"It was investigated by the Sandusky Police Department," said Erie County Assistant Prosecutor Ashley Thomas, who declined to talk about the allegations.

According to the police report, the incident was a seemingly unprovoked attack. The 57-year-old female victim reported Kerns and Gahagan "snapped" on her while they were waiting in line to use the restroom at Margaritaville, a Fremont Avenue restaurant.

Gahagan is accused of beginning to argue with the woman when she and Kerns walked into the restroom. A witness said Kerns originally tried to defuse the situation, but she reportedly became irritated when the victim said something to her daughter, police said.

Kerns then reportedly pinned down the victim's arm while Gahagan repeatedly punched her face, according to the report.

The victim was treated at Firelands Regional Medical Center for a one-inch, bleeding gash on her forehead.

Lt. Robert VanScoy earlier told the Sandusky Register the woman tracked down the suspects through mutual friends on Facebook and gave the information to officers.

Kerns and Gahagan, after warrants were issued for their arrests, turned themselves into police Sept. 16. If convicted, each of the defendants face two to eight years in prison.

On Nov. 19, the Huron County Sheriff's Office arrested Gahagan when deputies used a search warrant at her Norwalk home. She was charged with possession of dangerous drugs in connection with having pills without a prescription.

Detective Sgt. Josh Querin earlier told the Reflector that deputies had received complaints "about prescription pill trafficking and drug abuse at that residence."

"During the search, pills were found, along with numerous items of drug paraphernalia," Querin said soon after Gahagan was arrested. "(She) admitted to having a drug problem."

Gahagan later pleaded "no contest" to the first-degree misdemeanor and was sentenced to 30 days in the Huron County Jail. She faces a 150-day term if she violates the terms of her two years of probation, which includes not consuming alcohol or any "drugs of abuse," according to Norwalk Municipal Court records.

Kerns and Gahagan were two of the 42 people indicted by an Erie County grand jury this week. To see the full list, click HERE.

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