November 12, 2020
Murder trial for former Kennesaw State point guard Kamiyah Street faces COVID-19 delays
Street was arrested in November 2019 and has spent the past year in jail
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Almost one year after her arrest for murder, former Kennesaw State University point guard Kamiyah Street is still awaiting trial.
The case against Street stems from a shooting on July 16, 2019, in the parking garage of an apartment complex in Atlanta. The victim was 21-year-old Nashiem Hubbard-Etienne, a student at Georgia State University. Three months later, on October 22, police opened a case against Street, and she was arrested on November 21 on eight charges: one count of murder, three counts of felony murder, one count of criminal attempt to commit armed robbery, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. The first four charges all have automatic sentences of life in prison.
The evidence against Street reportedly includes video surveillance footage of her at the apartment complex on the night Hubbard-Etienne was killed and her own admission that she was present when he was killed. Four men were charged alongside Street and each face eight to 12 charges.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr., did not return a request for comment on Street’s case, but Street’s lawyer, Corinne M. Mull, told The Next that she is in discussions with the state to try to get Street immunity or a reduced sentence in exchange for evidence. Mull said that Street had been held up at gunpoint and had had money stolen from her, and that on July 16, 2019, she asked some friends to help her recoup her money. That interaction escalated and shots were fired in self-defense.
Mull added that Street was in the car when the shooting happened. “She’s in a difficult situation,” Mull said. “… She’s not accused of doing anything. She’s just accused of being party to a crime.”
In March 2020, the Supreme Court of Georgia suspended jury trials due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which stalled Street’s case for several months. The statewide suspension was lifted in November, allowing judges to resume jury trials if they believe it is safe to do so. However, the judge assigned to Street’s case, Judge Paige Whitaker, has postponed jury trials until at least January.
In the meantime, Street is being held at the Fulton County South Annex Jail in Union City, Georgia, which is the subject of a federal lawsuit for housing mentally ill women in conditions that the Southern Center for Human Rights has called “barbaric.” Those conditions allegedly include cells with moldy walls, leaking toilets, and women laying on the floor “covered in food and feces,” according to attorney Devon Orland. The COVID-19 pandemic has created further problems: until a nonprofit donated over 4,000 masks in May, jails in Fulton County were only giving masks to symptomatic inmates.
“She’s very distressed,” Mull said of Street. “She’s in a very bad situation.” Besides the jail’s poor conditions, Street has been unable to continue her education while incarcerated. Mull said that Street has been passing the time by “reading a lot [and] corresponding a lot.”
Street has had two bond hearings and a third petition for bond, but she has been denied release each time. “She met all the criteria [for bond],” Mull said, citing Street’s lack of a criminal record, low likelihood of reoffending, and strong ties to the community. “But it’s up to the judge and the judge’s discretion.” Mull said that the victim’s family was present at the two hearings and urged the judge to deny Street bond.
Kennesaw State suspended Street indefinitely from the women’s basketball team after her arrest, but Mull indicated that Street’s coaches, teammates, and teachers “have been supportive.” The university refused to allow staff or students to testify in the bond hearings, but Mull hopes that the university will reconsider if Street’s case goes to trial. Kennesaw State’s athletics communications department did not respond to The Next’s request for comment.
Street, a former Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year, would have been a senior this season for the Owls if not for her arrest. Due to the delays caused by COVID-19, she and her co-defendants will likely wait over a year from the dates of their arrests for trial or for a deal to be reached. Hubbard-Etienne’s family is also still waiting for justice. Despite a backlog of cases in Judge Whitaker’s court, Mull is hopeful that this case can finally move forward in January 2021.
Written by Jenn Hatfield
Jenn Hatfield has been a contributor to The Next since December 2018 and is currently the site's managing editor, Washington Mystics beat reporter and Ivy League beat reporter. Her work has also appeared at FiveThirtyEight, Her Hoop Stats, FanSided, Power Plays and Princeton Alumni Weekly.