Prognosis improves for assaulted clerk

An elderly San Bruno hotel clerk nearly stomped to death in March is now expected to survive and is currently speaking to investigators about his attack.

The 65-year-old, identified by co-workers at San Bruno’s Regency Inn as Raj Jain, remains in the San Francisco General Hospital’s intensive care unit, but appears to be improving, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

“The victim has made progress,” he said. “We understand he’s out of harm’s way in terms of death and the touch-and-go period where it could go either way has passed.”

Jain is now conscious and has given a statement to a detective, though he is struggling to remember the details of the March 29 incident, prosecutors said.

“It’s still foggy and [investigators] are working with him on that,” Wagstaffe said.

Meanwhile, Jain’s two alleged attackers are expected to enter pleas today to charges that could carry a 10-year prison sentence. Prosecutors will also set a date for a preliminary hearing.

Sacramento men Vutoro Mualevu, 28 and Isei Tikoisuva, 21, are each charged with one count of aggravated mayhem, two counts of felony assault and one count of felony assault causing great bodily injury.

Prosecutors say Mualevu and Tikoisuva were attending a party in one of the Regency Inn’s rooms when Jain knocked on the door at 4:30 a.m. to ask them to quiet down.

One of the men responded by smashing a beer bottle in Jain’s face, Wagstaffe said. As the elderly man lay on the floor bleeding, both men allegedly kicked, punched and stomped on him for several minutes. Partygoers did not try to intervene, according to prosecutors.

Mualevu and Tikoisuva were arrested minutes after the attack when San Bruno police surrounded the hotel and caught them within two blocks of the building.

On Monday, Wagstaffe said that despite Jain’s turn for the better, he still faces a long recovery and numerous plastic surgery procedures to correct the disfigurement he suffered in the beating.

Jain suffered numerous broken bones and a possible skull fracture in the attack.

Wagstaffe described Jain as “grandfatherly,” and the 65-year-old’s co-workers said he was a popular employee due to his strong work ethic and gentle manner.

Both suspects remain in the San Mateo County jail. Bail has been denied. Neither man’s attorney returned calls for comment Monday.

tbarak@examiner.com

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