Much-hyped case ends with thud

Witnesses in the trial about a well-publicized New Year’s brawl in San Francisco could agree on many things: there was underage drinking, adrenaline pumping and a lopsided beating that resulted in some serious injuries.

But what three Yale University students couldn’t agree on was who was responsible. Now, the two 20-year-old men who faced years in prison if convicted in the Jan. 1, 2007, Baker’s Dozen attack case have beaten the serious charges.

Richard Aicardi and Brian Dwyer were charged with felony counts of assault and battery for an alleged attack on two members of the a cappella group, Evan Gogel and William Bailey. Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kelly dismissed all charges Wednesday except for one misdemeanor assault charge against Aicardi.

Kelly said she was “very, very troubled” by, and “very sorry for,” the attack on two members of the a cappella group, but added that there was not sufficient evidence to hold Aicardi and Dwyer accountable.

The case appeared doomed from the start. Police made no arrests on the night of the beating, and the Yale students didn’t fill out reports or observe photo lineups until days after the party in the Richmond district.

The District Attorney’s Office took more than two months to charge the case, and Sharyar Aziz Jr., a Baker’s Dozen member whose jaw was broken in two places, wasn’t even named as a victim in the criminal case.

Kelly called the fact that police did not conduct a photo lineup of suspects to witnesses at the scene that night”troubling.”

The witness testimony that began Monday further showed the weaknesses in the case against Aicardi and Dwyer. Gogel described how he was attacked twice, once as he went to help his friend and again minutes later when he was chased and tackled by a group of men.

As he lay on his side in the “fetal position” with his fists covering his face, Gogel never thought to remember the faces of his attackers, according to his testimony. The mysterious woman who threw her body over Gogel to stop the beating was never identified.

Aicardi is still facing charges because one of the Yale students, Bailey, was able to identify him in the preliminary trial as the one who punched him in the face.

The only reason Dwyer was even in the courtroom, according to his attorney, Tony Brass, was because he admitted to police that he kicked someone, but that he didn’t remember who he kicked.

“He didn’t start this fight. He didn’t end this fight. He didn’t even want to participate in this fight,” Brass said of his client.

There was no statement from the District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday because the misdemeanor assault case against Aicardi is still pending, but the prosecutor, Rick Forman, called the decision “very disappointing.”

bbegin@examiner.com

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

U.S. Attorney threatens legal action against SF over limits on indoor church services

Federal authorities threatened to take action on Friday if San Francisco did… Continue reading

David Kubrin on Marxism and magic in the Mission

Former academic, industrial designer pens book on alternative, or people’s, science

Twin Peaks closure leads to complaints from neighbors

Twin Peaks Boulevard will no longer be entirely closed to motor vehicles… Continue reading

Report sheds light on Nuru’s nonprofit donor scheme

City contractor payments to Parks Alliance spent at direction of Public Works director

City to offer free permit for outdoor live music, amplified sound

San Francisco will make it easier for businesses to have outdoor live… Continue reading

Most Read