Cormican was serving a couple on a date who looked like they were having a good time—and was shocked to see, when the woman got up to use the restroom, the man "shake a white powder into the Hefeweizen beer he had ordered for his date."
"Did I really see that?" Cormican asked herself. "Why would he do that? It seemed like they were having fun."But our story doesn't end there.
… Cormican, 23, quickly approached the bartender, Hannah Bridgeman-Oxley, 27, and told her what she had seen. The two women hatched a plan.
Cormican returned to the table and told [Joseph Szlamnik, at the time a 43- year-old senior management assistant for the San Francisco Unified School District] and his date, whom the court identified only as Tatiana K., then 34, that the woman's beer had come from a fermented keg and that they were going to replace it. Cormican brought her a Stella Artois.
Cormican carried the adulterated Hefeweizen to Bridgeman-Oxley and out of sight into a back room. They held it up to the light and saw, unmistakably, a white powder. At a preliminary hearing last summer, Nikolas Lemos, chief forensic toxicologist at the San Francisco medical examiner's office, identified the powder as zalepron, a prescription sleeping drug sold as Sonata.
After they saw the white powder, says Bridgeman-Oxley, they were panicked. "We had to figure out a way to keep her away from this man." So when Tatiana went outside to smoke, Cormican followed her with the tainted beer and showed it to her. Then Bridgeman-Oxley came running out to tell them "He did it again"—Szlamnik had dropped two pills into Tatiana's new beer.
All three women looked through a window and saw Szlamnik trying to wipe up beer that had foamed over the edge of Tatiana's glass and was fizzing as if there were Alka-Seltzer in it.That makes me all verklempt just thinking about it!
In fact, as Dr. Lemos would later testify, the pills were alprazolam, commonly sold as Xanax, a central nervous system depressant prescribed to relieve anxiety. "In combination with alcohol," Lemos testified at the preliminary hearing, the two drugs "are encountered frequently in drug-facilitated sexual assaults ... without giving the victim the chance ... to even realize what's going on."
On the sidewalk, Tatiana was sobbing. Bridgeman-Oxley stalked back into the bar with Tatiana following, swiped the foaming glass off the table and looked the stunned Szlamnik in the eye when he began to protest that she had served him a second bad beer.
He said to Tatiana, "Let's go."
"You're date's over, mister," the bartender told him. "She's staying with us."
The asshole wannabe rapist offered to buy all three women a shot of whiskey, and when they (shockingly!) declined, he took off. The police were called, and, when they arrived, they were given the two beers.
Last week, Szlamnik was sentenced to a year in jail "on narcotic charges related to the incident."
Way to go, girls!
(Thanks to Shaker Susan for passing that along.)