Former Fort Ham student pleads guilty to acid attack

November 17, 2011 Heather Chin
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The 16-year-old girl who poured diluted hydrochloric acid on her15-year-old classmate inside a chemistry lab at Fort Hamilton HighSchool in early March has pleaded guilty to attempted assault as ayouthful offender.

Zhanna Smsarian, the former Fort Hamilton honors student andJunior ROTC member, admitted to the offense in Brooklyn CriminalCourt on Tuesday, November 15, and is now required to complete acourt-mandated mental health program in order to avoid four yearsof jail time. Upon the program’s successful completion, hercriminal record will be sealed.

The case was presided over by Brooklyn Supreme Court JusticeMatthew D’Emic, who on Tuesday told the defendant that the worstis over.

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Back on March 9, Smsarian poured the acid – which contained 10percent acid – over the head of classmate and fellow Junior ROTCmember Albina Eshimbaeva while in class. The teacher witnessed theattack and immediately flushed Eshimbaeva’s face and eyes withwater. Smsarian told police that she was trying to burn her eyesout.

The motive for the attack could not be confirmed, but rumorsranged from a dispute over a boy to Eshimbaeva, who was a JuniorROTC squad leader at the time, tattling on Smsarian for wearingnail polish, which is against squad rules.

Since the liquid had been diluted, and thanks to the teacher’squick response, Eshimbaeva only sustained redness and irritation toher eyes. Eshimbaeva’s family could not be reached for comment, butback in March, her mother had stated that she wanted her daughter’sattacker to be punished properly.

Opinions may differ as to whether the punishment meted out isappropriate, but some area parents are hopeful.

I think mental health treatment will help, said nurse Ann Owenof Bay Ridge. Maybe there was some jealousy and she snapped.Hopefully, it will help.

They are also being proactive.

As a parent, I’m very concerned any time a student commitsviolence against another student. The reason I send my kids to FortHamilton High School is because it is a safe school, said PTAboard member Sandy Vallas. I am concerned that a student washurt… and thankful the student who was responsible is going toget help. But it’s also sad because she needs the help and care soshe doesn’t graduate later in life to do it again… We’ve got toeducate all of our students that violence is not the answer.

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