• Trial begins for man accused of beating teen in video-recorded fight


    PALM BAY, Fla.,None - Attorneys made their opening statements Wednesday in the trial of a father accused of beating up a 16- year-old boy.

    Video of the fight was recorded and later posted on the Internet, and the jurors got to see that video of the fight Wednesday.

    One juror actually winced and jerked her head back during one of the videos. A male juror looked like he was glaring at the defendant afterward. Their eyes were bigger afterward, and the jury's whole demeanor seemed to change.

    The video shows 35-year-old Gary Johnson beating and kicking 16-year-old Christopher Mace.

    The video is the centerpiece of the state's child abuse and battery case against the emergency room technician. Prosecutors said the Palm Bay man at first permitted and supervised an after-school fight between Johnson's son,  Justin, and Mace.

    The prosecutor told jurors in opening statements allowing the fight was one crime, and participating in it was another. But Johnson's attorney said he never invited Mace over to his home and Mace was the instigator.

    The defense pointed to a portion of the video where Mace is following Justin Johnson after the fight between the teens was over and Gary Johnson intervenes. The defense claimed Johnson was protecting his son from more fighting.

    Four teenagers who watched and recorded the fight on their cellphones told jurors what happened from their perspective, describing how the fight left Mace bloodied and dazed.

    "He seemed like he was out of it and about to fall over," one of the teens said.

    Thursday morning, the jury will get to hear from Mace. They will also get to hear what Gary Johnson told police. Prosecutors said he relayed a different version than what's on the video.

    Gary Johnson is also accused of child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor for allowing his own son to participate in the fight.

    He faces a possible 57 years in state prison.


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