« Swingle Singers give Bee Gees, Bach the a cappella treatment | Main | S.F. judge dumps most of Baker's Dozen case »

April 14, 2008

Yale singer recounts sucker punch as Baker's Dozen hearing begins

San Francisco Chronicle:

A member of a Yale University singing troupe told a San Francisco courtroom Monday what happened when he tried to calm down a combative teenager at a now-famous New Year's Eve party. "He socked me in the left jaw," said William Bailey, a member of the Baker's Dozen singing group.

Bailey was one of three members of the a cappella group who testified in a preliminary hearing against alleged attackers Richard Aicardi and Brian Dwyer. Both defendants, now 20, have been charged with assault and battery in connection with the brawl between the Yale students and a group of recent graduates from Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory High School in San Francisco.

Bailey pointed across the courtroom at Aicardi and identified him as the one who slugged him early New Year's morning last year. Bailey said he had been trying to act as peacemaker when he approached Aicardi, said, "Let's not do this," and Aicardi threw his punch.

Aicardi's lawyer, Jim Collins, said outside court that the confrontation had been a fight, not an unprovoked attack. "The Yale boys were not little angels," Collins said. "They were argumentative, uncooperative with police and intoxicated."

Under cross-examination, Bailey and fellow singer Evan Gogel conceded that they had been drinking. Gogel, a sophomore, said the troupe had arrived that evening in a van from Squaw Valley, where they had been skiing and singing. They had been drinking beer in the van, and then champagne at another home before drinking more alcohol at the party, he said.

Gogel said he had two beers in the van, a glass of champagne at the first home and then three more beers at the party before the punching started. Tempers began to flare, he said, after the Yale singers locked arms in a circle, lifted their drinks in turn like a "wave" at the ballpark, and sang "The Star-Spangled Banner." After that, one of Yale singers then kissed a San Francisco girl, Bailey testified.

That did not go over well with one of the local boys, a youth wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a Santa Claus hat whom Bailey identified as Aicardi. Bailey told Aicardi that he was from Hawaii and tried to calm him down, and that Aicardi had told him, "You're OK." Then he used a vulgarity to refer to another singer, Bailey said.

Bailey said the Yale singers began to leave the party and that Aicardi followed them outside, where a van pulled up and more young men got out. That's when Bailey said Aicardi doubled up his fist and slugged him. "I was very stunned that he hit me," Bailey said. "He said we were cool, but clearly that wasn't the case."

Gogel said that about that time, he was attacked on the street nearby by four or five men, who kicked him repeatedly, and that he had seen fellow singer Sharyar Aziz on the ground and being attacked as well. Aziz suffered a broken jaw.

Collins asked Bailey if any of his fellow singers had been intoxicated. "I'm sure some of them were drunk, yes," Bailey replied.

In court, the two defendants whispered to each other, smiled and shared a water bottle. During a break, Dwyer said he was getting bored and wanted to go home and take a nap. The hearing continues Tuesday before Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kelly, who must decide if there is sufficient evidence to order the men to stand trial.

I really hope no more tax payer dollars are spent on this. If not for a couple of self-important parents this matter would of long since been over with.

Posted by acapnews at April 14, 2008 10:30 PM


Post a comment

Remember Me?