Beating Victim Recovering

A brutal attack last weekend on an Omaha street put a woman in a coma and an ex-con back behind bars. She tells Channel 6 News the charge should be attempted murder.

Thirty-one-year-old Ronnie Simmons Jr. of Omaha was charged with first-degree assault. If convicted he faces one to 20 years in prison. A preliminary hearing is set for October 17th.

Simmons sits in the Douglas County Jail, a $150,000 bond keeping him there. He is accused of beating a woman so savagely she fell into a coma, suffered broken bones to her face and has lost some vision in her left eye. She may have also lost a little faith in the justice system.

Twenty-two-year-old Shannell Webb looks like she's been hit by a truck. "I was in a coma for 18 hours." Recently released from Creighton University Medical Center, Shannell has bandaids over her IV injection sites, her left eye is blood red and the whiplash collar helps keep her head straight.

Shannell tells Channel 6 News her left eye socket is broken and her sight may never be as good as it was before the beating.

Last Saturday night, Shannell, her sister and two cousins had a run-in with a man at 25th and Binney. "He looked like he was real crazy and then he punched me in my face."

Shannell admits their two groups exchanged words, but says what came next was criminal. "I guess he just kept picking me up and slamming me to the ground and was like, you going to dress like a man, I'm going to beat you up like you're a man and that's all I can remember."

Shannell is 5-feet-2 and weighs less than 100 pounds. Simmons is 5-feet-11, 215 pounds.

Simmons has been in trouble before. Channel 6 News uncovered a homicide report from July 1995 when several young men kicked 43-year-old Jimmie Colbert to death. Simmons was convicted of manslaughter and served five years. In 2007 Simmons served another seven months for false imprisonment.

Simmons family left the jail Wednesday without comment and he turned down a request for an interview.

Shannell's family is sticking by her and helping her cope with the physical pain she has. For now they can't do much about the anger. "I think he should have been served with attempted murder because I almost didn't make it,” says Shannell. “I was on the breathing machine, I was on it for 18 hours so I almost didn't make it."