Game over: Charge in soccer biting case dropped

Former Fluco Katrina Ditta was supposed to be in Albemarle Circuit Court January 9 to appeal her conviction for allegedly biting a Western Albemarle soccer player during a game last spring. Instead, the prosecution requested the misdemeanor assault charge be dropped.

"The victim's father contacted us before Christmas," says Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Jon Zug. "They asked that it be nolle prossed.

"It's unusual," says Zug of the decision not to prosecute. "We went ahead and adhered to the victim's wishes."

The July 16 trial in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court highlighted the bad blood between the Flucos and the Western Albemarle Warriors– even before the May 23 semifinal game that would be Fluvanna co-captain Ditta's last high school game.

Further exacerbating the situation, the victim, Christine Domecq, used to play on the Fluvanna High team before transferring to Western, where her father is an assistant principal.

On the evening of Ditta's conviction, bottle bombs were thrown onto the Domecq property at Lake Monticello.

Since then, her father, Greg Domecq, notes improved behavior between the rival teams in his email to the prosecutor, and no further reports of inappropriate text messages or Facebook posts directed at Christine.

"The first step in the healing process is forgiveness," he writes. "What more can be gained?... "

A statement from Ditta's attorney, Bonnie Lepold, is not quite so conciliatory. "Katrina Ditta's good name was besmirched by a charge made against her seven months ago. Since then she has worked to regain her good name."

Lepold points out that one of the reasons the prosecution moved to have the charge nolle prossed was "to avoid wasting valuable judicial resources on trying this case again because, if it had been tried, a jury could have easily found reasonable doubt."

"A jury could have had a different result," concurs Hook legal analyst David Heilberg. "Maybe it wasn't worth it to spend taxpayers' money."

The commonwealth doesn't always defer to victims' wishes to not prosecute, particularly in relationship- or domestic-violence cases, says Heilberg. The assault charge stemming from a soccer game, however, was "unique," he says.

"Given all the factors in a hotly contested case, it's not a surprise," says Heilberg. "These folks will probably never have contact again."

During the daylong trial in July, Ditta flatly denied biting Domecq and had 10 witnesses, including referees, who testified they saw no biting.

The prosecution had photos of bite marks on Domecq's arm taken two days after the game by her father, and two of her coaches testified they saw red marks on her arm when she reported the incident to them after the game.

In her attorney's statement, Ditta thanks not only her family, friends, and fellow Flucos, but also "those individuals from the Western Albemarle organization who voluntarily came forward of their own accord expressing their support and willingness to testify on her behalf."

Lepold has filed a petition to expunge the misdemeanor assault charge, for which Ditta received a 90-day suspended sentence, and it will be finalized in a few weeks, she says.

Ditta, 18, is now a first-year at Virginia Wesleyan, says her attorney, where she plays on the varsity women's soccer team.


From what I read, this conviction never should have taken place from day one. This is what happens when halfway burned out judges are rushing through overcrowded dockets. I think it's also why we see some judges retiring earlier nowadays.

You mean when the judge comes down on the side of the accuser based on nothing more than "why would she lie?" NOw that seems to fit the beyond a reasonable doubt. But only in the people democratic republic of "Taxem Szakos!"

"It's unusual."

Jeezum! Where DOES this guy come from?

If I were the father and read what her lawyer wrote I would ask for them to refile.

lets let the jury decide.

Somebody is lying.... I suppose we will find out who when these girls grow up and the offender does a repeat somewhere else in their life.

She can bite me if she want too...

This girls picture should not have been on the article. It implies exxoneration and we don't KNOW what happened. If it were just a generic picture of kids playing soccer that would have been more professional. The Hook will look bad if a youtube pops up wth the this girl biting the other girl.

You should not take sides unless there is actual true proof and exxoneraration, not the prosecuters dropping fighting an appeal of a CONVICTION.

I don't know who did what, but I think a local paper taking sides could very well be an injustice to the LEGALLY DECIDED victim.

I wonder if we would have the picture of a smiling white guy on here that had been CONVICTED of attacking a black guy but the prosecuter dropped it at the request of the black family?

Just some food for thought...

GSOE wrote: "This is what happens when halfway burned out judges are rushing through overcrowded dockets. I think it's also why we see some judges retiring earlier nowadays."

You do realize that the judge who convicted her in July literally had just taken the bench and had just begun his judicial career only weeks before the hearing, right?

Thanks. I did not realize this. I guess we can only assume that inexperience is a terrible thing too.

The nay sayers should read the motion filed by the prosecutor wherein he states that there was a great possibility that a jury would find Ditta innocent. It was not Ditta's attorney who made that statement. I don't see where the HOOK is taking sides. Get your facts straight

In response to WOW. From what I see Ms. Ditta was denied her day in court. Maybe the father and alleged victim heard that parents and players from WAHS volunteered to testify on Ms. Ditta's behalf. Maybe that's why they did not want to testify because they knew that the truth would come out. So who is the brat here getting away with it. Not Ms. Ditta that's for sure.

@gitte brunner. YOu really think a college girl would rather go through court for what is clearly going to be a return of "not guilt" or do you tink she would rather just have it done and enjoy winter break?

Not sure if denied is the someone at that spot feels so much as jumping up and down and singing.

With all the budget cuts in Fluvanna schools, and downsizing of school lunch portions, it is no wonder this poor girl was hungry enough to start chomping down on others during the game!

Overtaxed. It's obtuse statements like yours that angers those of us who believe the biting incident never happened. This is not a joking matter.

Well, with this decision, one has to assume that the biting incident never did happen. It can sometimes be very hard to tell who did what to whom in these situations, but it is rare that an on-field incident ends up in court, especially with so little evidence and few accounts. If this had happened, I cannot imagine it would have been dropped by the prosecutor. The assumption will be(at least the prosecutor and courts is) that this alleged incident actually never occurred.

If the victim wants to dispute that, she can try to convince the prosecutor to change their mind or can sue in civil court--lacking either--the book seems closed on this one.

"The nay sayers should read the motion filed by the prosecutor wherein he states that there" was a great possibility that a jury would find Ditta innocent. It was not Ditta's attorney who made that statement. I don't see where the HOOK is taking sides. Get your facts straight"

..... would the motion you are reffering to be the one that the prosecuter had to file to justify to his bosses why he let a convicted criminal walk? I am not taking sides I am just pointing out that as the facts stand today she WAS convicted based on evidience that was strong enough to convince a judge and unless you are willing to make an direct accusation against the judge then the law has run its course.

Unfortunately both of these girls are presumed by different factions to be lying when in fact only one of them is. The "facts" of this particular incidence may never be known but karma has a way of reveialing peoples true colors and I am sure they will do so soon enough.

@Bill. Had you read the "reasoning" of the judge you, like everyone else, would have scratched your head. Alas, on top of that, the western players who remained quiet initially for fear of Domecq retribution re: college apps seemed ready to speak as the college apps were all sorted out...

I think Hendrix is on to something. The alleged victim's father was in a position of power over the players--once that diminished, their interest in continuing with the story waned, and there would be little hope in gaining a conviction on appeal. We may never know for sure, but the prosecution's case may have fallen apart there.

And- having the prosecutor drop a case in which they received an initial conviction seems unusual. The bottom line--the charges were dropped and the girl has no criminal record--what happened in the earlier stages(the conviction) is apparently irrelevant, at least from a legal standpoint, as the conviction did not survive appeal with the charges dropped. She is free and clear in the eyes of the law.

Perhaps we need more backstory as to why the charges were placed and the prosecuter decided to go forward on a bite that apparently didn't require medical attention. There are lots of cheap shots taken in sports that cause way more injury than was done here. Is there a history or is this simply how sissified we have evolved as a nation that we potentially send people to jail because we failed to teach them sportsmanlike conduct?

The part that is disaapointong to me is that we now live in a society where kids will lie in groups to protect a friend enough so that even if those friends are all telling the truth nobody knows whether they are making it up or not. There is an inherent lack of integrity that we have evolved to that is quite disappointing.

I would imagine 30 years ago that both coaches would have asked thier respective players individually what happened and the truth would have been solved that day. No cops no big mess, just one student apologising for biting or another apologising for lying about being bitten.

Nowadays kids think nothing of lying for personal gain and others think nothing of committing bad acts and lying to cover them up without guilt.

Thats a tough nut to crack for any judge.

Let me put all you doubters to rest. I spoke with several people who in court and all said they were shocked by the judges decision because he stated and I am paraphrasing what the said even though there was reasonable doubt that Ms Ditta bit Ms. Domecq, he saw no reason why the juvenile would . That decision is what allowed an appeal to be filed.