Arrests made over body slam robbery of Vietnamese woman in Houston that left her disabled

Joseph Harrell, 17, and Zy'Nika Ayesha Woods, 19, were hit with aggravated robbery charges on Friday in connection to what law enforcement are calling a "jugging incident" in Chinatown.

Two teens have been charged in relation to the violent Houston, Texas robbery that left 44-year-old mother Nhung Truong paralyzed last month.

According to the Houston Police Department, Joseph Harrell, 17, and Zy'Nika Ayesha Woods, 19, were hit with aggravated robbery charges on Friday in connection to what law enforcement are calling a "jugging incident" in Chinatown. Apparently, "bank jugging" or simply jugging "has grown in popularity in Texas," according to the Varghese Summerset law firm.


"Jugging occurs when a suspect watches a bank or high-end store and then follows a customer after they leave to steal their money or valuables," the attorneys said.

ABC 13 reported that the two suspects "confessed to detectives" that they were involved in the attack, which took place in broad daylight after the victim withdrew money from a bank and was followed for 24 miles as she drove to complete other errands.

Det. Tyrus Fontenot told the outlet that Truong, a Vietnamese immigrant, withdrew a large sum of money from a bank in the 9800 block of Blackhawk Boulevard at about 11:30 am on February 13, then drove to Chinatown while unknowingly being followed by Harrell and Woods.

"Our male suspect here exited the vehicle driven by Miss Woods here and assaulted the victim first by trying to take her purse and her wallet," the detective said. "Eventually, after learning he didn't have the money she withdrew from the bank, he went back and assaulted her again by picking her up and slamming her down onto the concrete."

Disturbing surveillance footage of the incident was widely shared on social media in hopes of finding the suspects, who evaded police for more than a month. In the video, Harrell can be seen grabbing Truong's money and violently slamming her into the pavement before making his getaway with Woods.

According to The Post Millennial's Andy Ngo, "Chinese-American WeChat users in Houston" originally garnered attention for the case before Houston PD made any mention of it. 

Truong was left unconscious on the sidewalk, and was later treated for cracked ribs and a fractured spine, the local outlet reported. 

"When I saw it, it just made me mad as hell," said Mayor Sylvester Turner during the press conference announcing the arrests. "Slammed her down like she was a bag of potatoes."

According to court documents, Harrell was also charged with aggravated assault in relation to a previous incident that happened 12 days before he attacked Truong, when he allegedly stole another woman's purse.

"The woman tracked the Airpods in her purse to a home in the South Acres neighborhood and told detectives she drove by the home. She reported seeing the man, later identified as Harrell, who robbed her, standing in the driveway," ABC 13 reported.

The unidentified woman told police that she and her husband waited for police to arrive in their car parked a few blocks away from the residence, when Harrell allegedly approached the vehicle, and asked if they needed anything. When the husband said no, the suspect allegedly pointed a gun at the woman as he continued past. 

Detective Fontenot noted that Harrell also has a juvenile criminal record.  

Harrell's bond is not yet set, and Woods' is $50,000.

A GoFundMe page for Truong organized by one of her children has reached $250,870 of their $120,000 goal, in order to cover costs over the long road to recovery as she will be unable to go to work for at least "two years."

In an update to the page on Sunday, it was announced that the mother was discharged from the hospital that morning and is recovering at home. 

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