OAKLAND -- A Barstow woman with mental health issues on Friday pleaded no contest to physical elder abuse for attacking a renowned blues singer on a stage at the Hayward Russell City Blues Festival last year.
Dinalynn Andrews-Potter, 44, took a plea deal and is expected to be sentenced April 11 to five years felony court probation. She will get credit for jail time served and time in a residential treatment program for her July 13 assault on 73-year-old Petaluma resident Lester Chambers, a founding member of the 1960s soul group, The Chambers Brothers.
Chambers had just dedicated a song to slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin when Andrews-Potter rushed on stage and pushed Chambers to the ground, prompting spectators to believe she was reacting to Chambers' support of the 17-year-old killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. The jury in the controversial, high-profile case acquitted Zimmerman of second-degree murder on the same day Chambers was attacked.
Andrews-Potter has post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of a trauma she suffered while serving in the U.S. Navy and is remorseful over the attack spurred by her belief at the time that Chambers was repeating her name as he performed, her attorney Sylvia Cediel wrote in court documents.
"Ms. Andrews-Potter ignored the voices but after a while it became too much for her and she 'snapped' and went up and pushed him to the ground to make the voices stop calling her name," Cediel wrote. "Ms. Andrews-Potter would like to continue treatment so that she can continue on her road to recovery and prevent something like this from happening again."
Chambers, who is suing festival-organizers, the city of Hayward, and Andrews-Potter over the attack, continues to suffer pain in his limbs and shoulder from his injuries that day for which he does physical therapy, the musician said Friday. He said he is happy that Andrews-Potter will receive mental health treatment over prison time.
"After (the prosecutor) told me she would go to a place for treatment, I thought that was an excellent idea because she does need some help," Chambers said.
Andrews-Potter remains in custody pending her sentencing.
Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.