Coast Woman Suffers From False Accusation - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

08/25/03

Coast Woman Suffers From False Accusation

"I was going to school at JC. I was a nursing student. It was just pretty much normal. I was working. I was very active with my kids and I just had a normal life," said Natasha Nettles.

29-year old Natasha Nettles "normal life" came to a halt the morning of July 25.

"I was awakened with four car loads of policemen at my house. And they had my house surrounded and was kicking on my door. And when I got up and got halfway to the door, the alarm started going off and the police officer told me to put my hands back up in the air. And so I put my hands back in the air and he helped me outside the door and he told me I was being arrested," said Nettles.

Natasha was accused of robbing a hotel clerk at knife point at the Ramada Inn in Moss Point on July 8.

She was taken to the Moss Point Police Department and charged with armed robbery. Bond was set at $25,000.

The only problem - Natasha Nettles was innocent. Keisha Bowens was not.

On August 8th, Bowens led coast officers on a high speed police chase after robbing several stores and banks in Gulfport and Biloxi.

Once police caught her, Bowens confessed to the robberies, as well as the hotel robbery at the Ramada Inn in Moss Point earlier that month.

Meanwhile, Natasha Nettles sat in jail for 17 days.

Even after Bowens confessed, Natasha still had to bond out of jail at $25,000.

She lost her job, flunked her final exams because she couldn't attend during exam week, and suffered embarrassment in front of family, friends, and neighbors. All this without one apology from the police department.

"I think that the people who have been involved in this should come forward and step forward and say, you know, first of all apologize to this lady for what's happened to her and her life's been turned upside down," said Nettles' attorney Jim Backstrom.

"Everything that I had done was productive and you know I was heading in the right direction as far as reaching my goals and all I could see was my life shattering in front of my eyes . Everything that I had worked hard for was seemingly going down the drain," said Nettles.

"The city ought to take this opportunity to avoid any type of litigation, and it ought to be fair to her. It ought to pay that bondsmen. It ought to pay the student loan that she has to pay back you know. I think somebody should come forward and offer her assistance and I don't mean just financial assistance but justice. Justice so that she can now be painted as a good person in the public eye and not as a dangerous criminal," said Nettles' attorney Earl Denham.

WLOX called Moss Point Police Chief Michael Ricks for a comment. He was unavailable, but Detective David Lawson called back and issued this statement:

"The Moss Point Police Department, in conjunction with the District Attorney's office, took the appropriate steps to get her out of jail as quickly as possible."

By Karla Redditte

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