The two groups of women had been feuding for weeks.

On one side, according to prosecutors, were Catessa Barnum and friends.

On the other side were Porcha Hill and friends.

The nature of the beef: Barnum, 27, and Hill, 34, had children by the same man and didn’t like each other, said Deputy Douglas County Attorney Eric Wells.

That meant for drama — both on social media and in society.

The drama turned deadly Sept. 23, 2017, when Barnum apparently fired a warning shot. That bullet entered a rear window of Hill’s SUV — striking her 15-year-old daughter, Shadaisja Hill, behind the ear as she sat in the back seat. Shadaisja was soon determined to be brain dead and died three days later.

Sign up for World-Herald news alerts

Be the first to know when news happens. Get the latest breaking headlines sent straight to your inbox.

For that, Barnum pleaded no contest this week to manslaughter. In return for her plea, prosecutors dropped a weapon use charge that could have added up to 50 years to her sentence. Barnum, who has been weepy at several of her court hearings, now faces up to 20 years in prison. She’ll be sentenced in April.

Barnum and Porcha Hill had a history of harassment and threats, according to court documents they filed when they sought protection orders against each other.

Wells gave the following account:

In the afternoon of Sept. 22, 2017, the two groups had squared off at a convenience store at 30th and Parker Streets. Words were exchanged.

Hours later, in the early morning of Sept. 23, 2017, they again converged — this time at a jitney stand, an underground cab service, at 36th and Lake Streets.

Porcha Hill and her group emerged from an SUV, two of them holding aluminum bats.

Barnum brought a gun to a bat fight. Wells said it appears that Barnum, who had a concealed-carry permit and no record, meant to fire a warning shot to disperse the crowd. The shot instead killed Porcha’s daughter, Shadaisja.

Wells said he had a hard time understanding why Porcha Hill had her daughter with her at 2:15 a.m.

For Wells, this is the third case in three months in which he has prosecuted a teen or young adult for killing another teen or young adult. One killing — in which a 14-year-old boy shot and killed a 17-year-old boy — was over a marijuana deal. Another came after two teens decided to lure a man for sex.

And this one came after Barnum and Hill met up with their crews at 2:15 a.m. at the jitney stand/liquor store. Shadaisja never left her mother’s SUV — and was not part of the confrontation. She had been a student at Omaha North High School.

“When you see young people getting involved in crimes like this, it’s just stupid,” Wells said, “and so avoidable.”

Sign up for The World-Herald's afternoon updates

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Reporter - Courts

Todd Cooper covers courts, lawyers, trials, legal issues, the justice system and government wrongdoing for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @CooperonCourts. Phone: 402-444-1275.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Recommended for you

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.