Trio To Stand Trial In Football Player Attack
Grossmont College Player Michael Bajko Left Permanently Disabled
Last Updated: 1021 days ago
Three males accused of attacking a Grossmont College football player with a bat and golf club in La Mesa, leaving him permanently disabled, are to go on trial Jan. 18, prosecutors said Thursday.Anthony Long, 19, and Jesse Preston, 17, and Bryant Johnson, 16, who are being prosecuted as adults, are accused of beating Michael Bajko March 6.They are charged with aggravated mayhem, assault and battery and could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney John Philpott.Witness Eric Taylor testified at a preliminary hearing last month that he got into a verbal argument over the phone with another young man early that day and that they agreed to fight.Taylor said the conversation was "two guys with a hot head going back and forth with each other" and described it as "a testosterone moment."He said the two agreed to fight one-on-one, but he brought his companion and the 6-foot-9-inch Bajko just in case.Taylor said three men arrived around 1:30 a.m. at Northmont Park and came at him and his friends with weapons. He said he ran but saw Bajko being beaten by all three, so he grabbed a tire iron and rejoined the fray.Taylor said an acquaintance found the suspects by searching MySpace pages.Bajko was knocked unconscious during the fight. He testified that doctors inserted titanium plates in his left eye socket, temple and skull and gave him a "fake sinus.""I can no longer play any physical sport," Bajko said. "I can obviously no longer play football. I can't go snowboarding like I used to or ride a skateboard."The former defensive lineman for the Griffins said he still suffers from short-term memory loss. He has visible scars on his head and his injured eye socket remains disfigured, he said, adding that his medical bills topped $1 million.