Teen beaten by African-Americans testifies
Ryan Rusch remembers the moments leading up to the beating, but not the beating itself.
Rusch, 14, testified Monday about the July 2006 attack that put him in a coma and left him with permanent damage to his eyesight and memory as one of his accused attackers, 18-year-old Micha Eatman, went on trial for attempted murder.
In a steady voice, the boy who had endured three heart surgeries before the attack told of how he noticed three African- American males -- including Eatman -- following him through Beverly Park as he made his way home on a scorching Sunday afternoon.
“The three African-Americans were maybe five feet behind me. And I turned my head, and I turned my head again. And then that’s all I remember," Rusch said. “I woke up on Wednesday afternoon in the hospital."
Prosecutor Tom Driscoll told Judge Joseph Kazmierski witnesses saw the three youths riding together on two bicycles. One man, a police officer, even stopped Rusch after he had an initial encounter with them to ask what they had said.
Witnesses saw one of the youths kicking Rusch as he lay on the ground, Driscoll said. The attackers stole a cell phone Rusch was carrying and left him on the ground, where he lay having seizures.
“Micha Eatman was the leader of the group," Driscoll said.
Rusch’s grades have suffered and his “cognitive abilities have changed," Driscoll said, “all because of the attack."
Defense lawyer Steven Greenberg tried to cast doubt on the witness testimony in his opening statement. “None of them saw Micha Eatman striking this man," Greenberg said.
Robert Hynes, an 18-year-old student, testified he was driving with friend Sean Coleman when he saw three African-American youths following Rusch. He began to follow them in his car, he said. As he was driving by the park, he saw Rusch fall and be kicked by two of the three boys.
When he and Coleman came upon Rusch, he was lying on the ground. “He was shaking, his whole body. . . . He was making strange sounds, sounds kind of like a snoring, like a loud scratching snoring," Hynes said.
The two other defendants have been charged as juveniles and face attempted murder charges. No trial date has been set. Eatman is being tried as an adult in a bench trial, meaning Kazmierski will decide his guilt or innocence.
Beaten Beverly boy testifies
Officer who saw beating testifies