One Accused Released, Two Others Face Trial for Brutal Assault in Bar Fight

By Talia Kruger and Naya Wiezel

MODESTO, CA – Twin May bar fights—one female and another male victim—led to a preliminary hearing held here last week in Stanislaus County Superior Court, and in the end, one man was released and two people face trial.

Three people who were alleged to have been involved in the attack that resulted in the victim needing stitches were identified as Angelica Lopez, Arthur Peralta and Vincente Ruiz.

The charges for this case are felony with great bodily injury. The prosecution had suggested Lopez could be held on charges of aiding and abetting.

Witnesses, including the victim and accused, gave statements regarding the events that occurred that night.

Based on the accounts of those involved in the case, Judge Dawna Reeves was able to piece together an interpretation of the events that transpired.

According to Judge Reeves, earlier in the night, Lopez and the victim had gotten into a verbal argument inside of the bar.

Later, Lopez allegedly engaged in a physical altercation with a female victim, and following this fight, three men, and Peralta and allegedly attacked the male victim.

The attack resulted in the victim having a broken nose and needing several stitches.

Deputy District Attorney Tracy Griffin argued Lopez and Peralta acted together in the assault, with Lopez keeping the female victim from defending the male victim from the attacks.

Lopez’s defense, on the other hand, argued the female fight was separate from the male fight as it had occurred before the male fight, and as a result, the prosecution’s argument was pure speculation.

Peralta’s defense maintained there was no way to prove that the actions that resulted in the great bodily injury charge were committed by Peralta.

Lastly, Ruiz’s defense asserted that while the accused may have been present at the bar that night, the video evidence and testimony from an officer witness pointed to another man who was wearing different clothes from Ruiz being involved in the attack.

Judge Reeves had both the defense and prosecution guess Ruiz’s height and weight, to see if they could match Ruiz to the suspect in the video.

The defense argued there was no evidence of Lopez committing the great bodily injury offense and that he should therefore have charges dismissed.

Judge Reeves agreed, and said she came to the conclusion that after, witnessing the video footage from the night of the alleged assault, there was not enough evidence to charge Lopez with causing great bodily injury to the victim. Lopez was released from custody.

However, Judge Reeves found enough evidence to charge both Peralta and Ruiz for battery that causes serious bodily injury to another, as well as assault by using force that is likely to produce “great bodily injury.” Both will be held until their arraignment and trial setting Oct. 5.

About The Author

Talia Kruger is a 3rd year Criminology major at UC Irvine. She plans to get her paralegal certification and enter the legal field before eventually applying to law school. Her aim is to become an environmental attorney or criminal defense attorney, and advocate for criminal justice reform.

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