MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A mother from south Memphis is in hiding after nearly beating her sons' football coach to death. Lakeshia Richmond, 27, is accused of attacking Tony Massey, 33, with a baseball bat. Richmond says she did it to protect her children. She claims the coach molested her sons during sleepovers.
The Memphis mom's story is all over the internet and people across the country want to help her. Even though Memphis Police have not charged the coach with a crime people are siding with the mother. They want to help her pay for a lawyer and don't want to see her in jail.
"Anybody wanting to donate they can. You can't tell people how to think or what to think. They're doing it out of the kindness of their hearts,” said one Memphis mother, Sharon Hoey.
People we spoke with say allegations of sexual abuse should always be taken seriously, but Lakeshia Richmond handled it the wrong way.
"Sometimes children can take things the wrong way but you don't want to overreact as a parent,” said Hoey. “This country would be a mess if we allowed people to take the law into their own hands. We don't want vigilantes running around doing things that are inappropriate."
Richmond is out of jail on bond. Now she's laying low after publicly speaking out about how she beat Coach Tony Massey with a baseball bat.
"I didn't intend to do whatever I did to him. I apologize but I don't apologize to what happened to my kids. This is outrageous. Now my kids are suffering, they kind of scared to go asleep at night,” Richmond told ABC24 News on Sunday, August 19, one day after her arrest.
Richmond claimed her 8 and 9 year old sons weren't the only ones molested. Memphis Police are still investigating. Richmond was all smiles after officers arrested her for beating the coach but that smile may disappear if she's convicted of aggravated assault. The Shelby County District Attorney’s Office says she could serve up to 15 years in prison, leaving her 4 children alone.
"You just have to use your head. Yes, we want to use what normally comes to mind but that's not the rational thing to do because you have to be around and take care of your children,” noted another mother, Joyce Culpepper.
Doctors say the coach's condition is improving in the hospital. The family did not want to speak with ABC24 News and asked for privacy.
There is a fund set up at Bank of America called "Benefit Account for Lakeshia Richmond."