SAN DIEGO -
A judge Friday dismissed assault and battery charges against three San Diego firefighters accused of beating and robbing two brothers outside a Normal Heights bar, but ordered the defendants to stand trial on charges of grand theft and trying to dissuade a witness.
Vadid Cisneros, 37, Andrew Brennen, 30, and Gregory Econie, 26, allegedly attacked the siblings, ages 44 and 46, following an exchange of words near the intersection of Adams Avenue and 34th Street shortly after 2 a.m. on Feb. 26, according to San Diego police. The firefighters were off duty at the time.
After listening to preliminary hearing testimony for more than a week, Judge Frederic Link ruled that the alleged victims, Luis and Willie Martinez, were the aggressors in the fight and that the defendants had a right to defend themselves.
The defendants, however, pursued the Martinez brothers once the initial altercation was over, the judge said.
Luis Martinez testified that the defendants started the fight and jumped he and his brother again down the street.
Econie testified that it was the other way around -- that he, Cisneros and Brennen were jumped as they walked away from the initial confrontation.
Link ordered the defendants to stand trial on the grand theft count, ruling that there was a question as to how a wallet came out of Willie Martinez's pants. According to the testimony, Brennen scooped up some items that fell out of the wallet, including photos of Willie Martinez's son, and held onto them.
Prosecutor Michael Runyon told the judge he planned to re-file the robbery charge.
A Superior Court arraignment was set for Oct. 4.