SANTA ROSA – In May of this year, we published a fairly simple account of a young woman, 23-year-old Rebekah Sammet, who had been arrested by Santa Rosa Police on charges of assault with a deadly weapon. As communicated by the Santa Rosa PD in a press release, they were sent to an apartment on Tachevah Drive on reports of a stabbing. The victim, they were told, was already sent to the hospital with wounds, and the suspect had fled. As they investigated, an anonymous caller told them where the suspect was, and Sammett was soon under arrest. The name of the victim was not released at the time.
After her arrest and the story was published here, and in other news outlets, Ms. Sammet reached out to CrimeVoice to tell her side of the story. She initially posted a comment on the story, but later sent us a more detailed account of what she says happened in the incident.
According to Rebekah Sammet, she was the tenant at the Tachevah Drive apartment where the incident occurred. She says she had an extra room in the apartment because her grandmother had recently moved out. Joe and Samantha Browder, along with their 9-month-old baby, were in need of living accommodations in the area while participating in a Sonoma County work program. Sammet says she offered to let them move in with her, but for just a month, because she could not sublease the room. They moved in on May 2.
Sammet says that she welcomed the company, as she missed her 6-year-old son, who was living with another guardian at the time. She enjoyed helping care for the baby as well. However, on Thursday, May 15, there was an argument between Rebekah and Samantha Browder. Samantha wanted Rebekah to make more room for her family by moving her absent son’s things out of his room. Rebekah says she did not want to make her son to feel “moved out”, especially since the Browders were there only temporarily. The argument got heated, and the landlord heard Samantha’s raised voice, and called the police.
Police arrived to help the landlord and tenants resolve the dispute. The Browders had already paid a sum for their share of the rent, but that money was then returned with the agreement that they would move out. Rebekah says she now wanted them out right away, but the parties agreed on a 24-hour time frame for vacating. She left the apartment to attend classes. She says that when she returned, Samantha’s brother and mother were there helping pack and remove their belongings.
Sammet then described what led to the incident and her arrest. She said that while she was waiting for the family to leave, she lied down on the couch. When the rest were gone, Samantha came in and began yelling at her and punched her. Sammet says she kicked back and demanded that she leave. Samantha, however, continued to fight, and Rebekah says at that point she grabbed a pair of scissors to defend herself. She said that Samantha continued anyway, and she pulled back not intending to hurt her, but ended up leaving as small wound on her abdomen. Samantha yelled “oh, you’re going to stab me?” and then threw a punch, which Rebekah says she tried to block, and that resulted in the stab wound on her arm. As Samantha went to the bathroom to tend to her cut, Rebekah left, and said one of the Browders’ friends who was there grabbed the scissors.
Rebekah’s description of the following events starts with Ronnie Warren, Samantha’s brother, forcing her back into the apartment, and closing and locking the door. Rebekah yelled for Joe Browder, who had previously told her nothing would happen to her despite his wife’s temper. Warren told her to “stop screaming, no one can hear you, no one can help you.”
Samantha came back in the room and grabbed her in another attack, which resulted in them both on the ground, and Samantha biting Rebekah’s fingers, breaking the skin. Joe Browder came in, and Warren showed him the cut on Samantha’s elbow, and Rebekah heard several people yell “She stabbed Sami!”. Joe separated the women, but Rebekah was hit in the head, and at that point she was on the floor, surrounded by six people – Joe and Samantha Browder, Ronnie Warren and his mother Robin, and another couple. While down on the floor, Rebekah says she was trying to stop her fingers from bleeding, and was kicked several times while she yelled for help. She heard Ronnie Warren say “Your God can’t hear you.”
Sammet says that after that, she was held down by Ronnie Warren and Robin Warren while Samantha got on her and chocked her. The force was not hard enough for her to lose consciousness, and Rebekah continued to try to fight back. After that, however, she was let go. Robin Warren called police to report the stabbing, some helped Samantha with her stab wound, and someone likely went to check on the baby, who was in the Warren’s van in his car seat. Rebekah says she was then able to leave the apartment out the back door. She tried to talk to a neighbor but had trouble speaking, and then laid down on a lawn.
Neighbors came out to see what happened, and offered to call police. Rebekah says she said no, she did not want any of the six to see her again. One neighbor offered to walk her to the police car that had just arrived, but she asked her to go ahead and call instead. The neighbor called to report the assault, but the dispatcher told the woman to “keep the suspect there” and asked if she had any weapons. When police arrived, she was taken into custody, despite her claims that she was the victim. She was booked for the stabbing. The call from the neighbor trying to help was the anonymous lead Santa Rosa police detailed in their report.
Sammet says that she was scheduled for her court date on Friday, May 30, but that no witnesses appeared to testify against her, and as a result the case against her was dropped. But she says the personal results of the incident are bad enough. Though her fingers healed from the laceration caused by the biting, she cannot move her neck around normally. She no longer has the home she once lived in. She said that her mother went there the next day, and found the Browders were still there, and that the landlord had asked them if they wanted to take over the lease. She believes their plan was to get her evicted and take over the apartment all along. She has moved in with her mother, but is now being denied contact with her son because of her assumed commission of a violent act.
I contacted the Santa Rosa police, but they had no further comment or information to share on this case. I also tried to reach the Browder family through social media for their comments on this story, but they did not respond.
Rebekah Sammet stated, in conclusion to our interview “I have worked very hard to overcome obstacles from my own childhood and physical injuries; to have a place of peace in my life. I had that briefly. I grew a jungle in a garden from having no plants in my yard. My home setting was like a daycare full of safe, fun, family connectedness. I had a passion for going back to the places of poverty I was from, connecting with people to give them hope that if they try, we can make it to a better standard of living. It helped many old peers. I helped many children be treated better by homeless parents. I took food, clothes, books, shoes and spent time just being there for people who needed to know they are worth my company and to not give up on life. These people took that all away with one, jealous act of violence. But I’m thankful that even without my personal effort, there are still people going to homeless parks and devoting love to those who appreciate it.”