The case against an Oklahoma man accused of nearly castrating a University of Texas fan in a bar fight was dropped Wednesday by prosecutors who said several witnesses indicated that it was the injured man who had been the aggressor.
Allen Beckett said he was enjoying a beer at his favorite Oklahoma City bar in June 2007 when a young man wearing a University of Texas T-shirt strolled in.
Beckett, a 54-year-old federal auditor, church deacon and 22-year Army veteran, said he good-naturedly ribbed the man, saying the Longhorn emblem on his shirt was upside down.
What ensued a short time later was a fight that left 35-year-old Brian Christopher Thomas with an injury to his scrotum so severe it took 60 stitches to close.
Beckett had faced a felony assault charge and could have received up to five years in prison if convicted, but prosecutors filed paperwork to dismiss the charge Wednesday.
Messages left Wednesday for Thomas and his attorney, Carl Hughes, were not returned. A lawsuit Thomas filed against Beckett and the bar is still pending.
During a preliminary hearing in March, Thomas testified that Beckett taunted him relentlessly and that when he decided to leave, Beckett attacked him without provocation, grabbing his groin.
When a pair of patrons at Henry Hudson's Pub tried to separate the two men, Thomas said he heard a popping sound, looked down and saw a lot of blood.
"I saw a tear and an exposed testicle," Thomas said. "I panicked."
District Attorney David Prater, however, said witnesses have since come forward who said Thomas was the aggressor.
"So many witnesses came forward with stories counter to what the victim's story was and supporting the story of the defendant," Prater said Wednesday. "We found we had a case on our hands that we no longer could prove beyond a reasonable doubt."
Jamy Snyder, a bartender at the pub, told investigators Thomas said he had already been in another fight and was anxious to scrap with Beckett, according to court papers.
Other bar patrons, including friends of Thomas, also told investigators that Thomas was intoxicated and looking for trouble, court records show.
For his part, Beckett said he was minding his own business when Thomas approached him at the bar and threatened to beat him up. He said he grabbed Thomas only after the bigger, younger man tried to pull him from his bar stool.
Beckett said he didn't grab Thomas' groin until the two men hit the ground, and then only to keep Thomas from attacking him. He said he also had no idea Thomas had been injured so severely.
The fight raised questions about whether some college football fans were taking the rivalry between the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners too seriously, but Beckett said team pride had nothing to do with his actions.
"I didn't even go to OU," he said. "I'm a baseball fan."Sean Murphy, AP Writer © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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