An Ascension Parish mother accused of shooting another mom during a brawl at a Dutchtown gas station will argue in court that she was trying to defend herself and her daughter, recent testimony suggests.

Rhesa Pointer’s attorney, Travis Turner, began laying the groundwork for self-defense during questioning in a bail hearing Tuesday.

An Ascension sheriff’s detective testified that Pointer had a gun pointed at her and that her 21-year-old daughter was being beaten in a parking lot by several other people shortly before shots were fired.

A state district judge, however, refused to grant Pointer bail for the brazen evening melee at a busy, public area near Interstate 10.

Twenty-third Judicial District Judge Jason Verdigets found Pointer, 41, of Darrow, posed a risk to the community. He faulted her for the alleged blatant disregard for public safety in the Nov. 15 incident that he said “thank goodness” led to no one else being shot.

“And for what reason,” Verdigets emphasized during the bail hearing in Gonzales.

Rhesa Pointer

The ruling prompting Pointer to beg the judge for leniency and moan in despair as she was led away from the courtroom Tuesday afternoon. Verdigets stood by his ruling, an early step in the criminal case against Pointer that can be revisited later. 

Turner said Wednesday he planned to file motions soon arguing Pointer was defending herself and her daughter.

The fight involved several people, including the Pointers and a rival mother and daughter, who met and fought in the parking lot of a combined gas station/McDonald’s restaurant along a busy section of La. 73 in Ascension Parish, deputies have said.

During the fight, Rhesa Pointer shot the mother of the other daughter, who is expected to recover, deputies have said.

Pointer, who turned herself in to deputies Nov. 21, has been booked with attempted second-degree murder, illegal use of weapons, two counts of aggravated damage to property and other counts, deputies have said.

Raneshia Tysheria Pointer

In new testimony, sheriff’s Detective Trey Richard acknowledged that shortly before the shooting, Rhesa Pointer’s daughter, Raneshia Tysheria Pointer, was on the ground in the parking lot being kicked and beaten by others in the fight.

Under the questioning by Turner, Richard testified that the woman who was shot also had a gun and had raised it toward Rhesa Pointer, as Pointer had raised her own gun toward the rival mother.

Detectives found four bullet casings near Rhesa Pointer’s car, including two where the video showed Pointer was standing when she had her gun raised, Richard told prosecutor Leila Braswell.

While Richard didn’t say whether the victim fired her gun, he acknowledged that Pointer’s vehicle had a bullet hole in it and that Pointer hadn’t shot her own vehicle during the brawl, so it was reasonable to conclude someone else may have fired that shot.

Richard’s account was based on his review of surveillance video and other investigation.

Pointer has at least one prior felony drug conviction, Richard also testified, and was not authorized to possess a gun. Richard told prosecutor Braswell that the victim was not similarly barred from having a gun.

When asked by Turner, Richard said he could not say who fired first.

He said that the fight had started with both sides walking to the middle of the parking lot after the victim, her daughter and others had driven up in a white SUV and at least one other vehicle.

Richard told Turner the two sides threw the first punches at almost the same time.

The victim and her family are from Baton Rouge and had driven to Prairieville to meet the Pointers.

Though deputies have said Rhesa Pointer is from Baton Rouge, Turner, her attorney, said she lives in the Darrow community in southeastern Ascension. Pointer’s daughter lives in Baton Rouge, Turner said.

Raneshia Tysheria Pointer, the daughter, has been booked with single counts of being a principal to attempted second-degree murder, principal to illegal use of weapons, simple battery, disturbing the peace, and child desertion and two counts of being a principal to aggravated damage to property.

She has been granted combined bail of $36,000, jail records say.

Deputies have said they expected to make other arrests.