SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- A woman accused of robbing and hurting an 8-year-old girl selling candy in San Francisco's Western Addition neighborhood last week pleaded not guilty in San Francisco Superior Court Tuesday afternoon.
Ladonna Christian, 46, of San Francisco, hid behind a courtroom door to avoid news cameras while she was arraigned on robbery and child endangerment charges Tuesday.
Christian was arrested Thursday evening after she allegedly robbed and assaulted the 8-year-old girl on Divisadero and Eddy streets around 1:45 p.m. on July 14.
According to San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Leslie Cogan, the 8-year-old girl was selling candy in front of a store with her 10-year-old cousin when Christian allegedly approached her and used a rouse asking for bus money to distract the girl.
She then allegedly grabbed the girl's wrist and twisted her arm, making her drop a bag of money, Cogan said.
"She's preying on an 8-year-old," Cogan said. "She's a public danger to children and other people."
Christian's attorney, David Waggoner, told the court that he has known Christian's family for 30 years and that Christian has no serious criminal record.
He said her last contact with police was seven years ago for a DUI.
Waggoner said she has lived in the same residence for the past eight years and has raised four children, three of whom are her own.
He said she suffers from medical disabilities brought on by years of abuse from her former husband who used to beat her and has since been convicted.
Christian's older sister Sheila Williams said outside of court that she couldn't believe that her sibling would commit such a crime.
She said before the arrest Christian was at her Diamond Heights home and that she had told her sister to surrender to authorities.
She said her sister claimed she didn't hurt anyone and that she would get in touch with police soon.
Williams was accompanied Tuesday by other family and community members, including Christian's 24-year-old daughter Nina Travis.
Travis said that her mother has been suffering from medical issues and that this incident may be a way for her mother to get help.
She said the attack on a young girl seems out of a character for her mother.
In court, Christian's bail was lowered to $100,000 and she was ordered to appear at a pre-trial conference on Aug. 1.
She was also ordered to stay away from the 8-year-old girl and the block of Divisadero Street where the incident allegedly occurred.
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