Physical therapist and social worker charged with felonies over beating of state senator

Kerida E. O'Reilly, left, and Samantha R. Hamer, right, have been charged as parties to the crimes of substantial battery and robbery with use of force in the beating of state Sen. Tim Carpenter.

MADISON – A physical therapist and school social worker were charged Wednesday with beating a state senator after members of the public identified the pair. 

Among those who named the suspects were a former patient of the physical therapist and an official at the school where the social worker is employed. 

Charged as parties to the crime of substantial battery in Dane County Circuit Court were Samantha Hamer, 26, and Kerida O’Reilly, 33. If convicted of the felonies, they could each face up to 3½ years in prison and $10,000 in fines 

Hamer is a social worker for the Mount Horeb School District outside of Madison. O’Reilly is a physical therapist with The Body Resilient in Madison. Hamer was placed on leave after she was arrested Monday, according to the school district.

Both turned themselves in Monday in connection with the June 23 attack on Democratic state Sen. Tim Carpenter of Milwaukee. Also that night, a crowd tore down two statues on the Capitol grounds, broke out windows of the Statehouse and threw a Molotov cocktail into a local government office. 

Hamer and O’Reilly were ordered released from jail Wednesday on signature bonds. They were told not to have contact with Carpenter or each other and were banned from the area surrounding the Capitol.  

Attorneys for the two argued they should not face charges, saying others were responsible for the attack. 

“There’s nothing indicating that they struck him in any way, shape or form,” said O’Reilly attorney Nathan Otis during a court appearance.

According to the criminal complaint, a group rushed toward Carpenter as he took photos and a short video clip of the crowd. One person punched him in the face, knocking him to the ground. Eight to 10 people hit and kicked him while he was on the ground, according to Carpenter and witnesses. 

Carpenter’s nose was fractured and he required surgery after the incident, according to the police report and a statement from Carpenter.

After the attack, police released images of the suspects. They were identified by several people, including one of O’Reilly’s former patients and the head of student services at Hamer’s school district.

One member of the public told police that O’Reilly had deleted many social media posts after the attack.

Another said Hamer had deleted her Facebook profile after the attack. That person told police Hamer can be heard on one video clip telling Carpenter to delete a photo or video on his phone after the attack. 

O’Reilly told police she did not know others involved in the attack and she had met Hamer that night. 

Regulators are reviewing O’Reilly’s physical therapy license and Hamer’s social worker license, according to the state Department of Safety and Professional Services. 

Hamer continues to be listed on the Mount Horeb district’s website as a resource for high school students and their families who need help dealing with emotional distress and anxiety. 

Contact Patrick Marley at patrick.marley@jrn.com. Follow him on Twitter at @patrickdmarley.