Man charged after fight at Fresno's Elbow Room pleads not guilty

It was a common fight and it was self-defense, that's what defense attorneys are saying about a brawl outside the Elbow Room that seriously injured a Clovis man.
December 20, 2013 3:51:02 PM PST
It was a common fight and it was self-defense, that's what defense attorneys are saying about a brawl outside the Elbow Room that seriously injured a Clovis man. Aharon Davoyan pleaded not guilty on Friday morning. He is accused of assault and battery, stemming from a November fight that left Nick Burriel Jr. in a coma for about two weeks.

Defense Attorneys say Davoyan is remorseful about what happened. The men have known each other for a while and this is not the first time they have fought.

Davoyan's attorney explained that the PG&E employee has strong family ties. The attorney also said he has no criminal history and has been cooperative ever since November 16th; when Police went to the Elbow Room and paramedics rushed a then unconscious Nick Burriel to the hospital. Burriel would remain in a coma for many weeks after the confrontation.

But before any of that happened there were words exchanged and Action News learned there's been "bad feelings" between the two men for years. Those bad feelings re-surfaced inside the Elbow Room on the November 16.

"I equate it to a basketball fight by basketball players- a few punches are thrown, no damage is done," Michael Idiart, Davoyan's attorney said.

Idiart said the two men were kicked out and the battle that had brewed inside spilled outside.

"The young man, Mr.Burriel persisted in calling him names and eventually started coming towards my client, my client came towards him," Idiart said.

Witnesses describe hearing a thud noise as Burriel hit the ground. The star soccer player has since come out of his coma and is struggling to recover.

"We all want him to come home, to pull through we're praying every day for him to pull through, little by little he keeps getting better but it's still a long way to go," the victim's cousin Louie Ruiz said.

Aharon Davoyan's attorney says it was a mutual fight--one that could have happened to anyone.

"I think the media and the public is going to learn a lot about self-defense and mutual combat and what can happen in mutual combat in terms of criminal liability," Idiart said.

But Burriel's family disagrees.

"A mutual fight is a one on one fight face to face- my cousin was picked up from behind and slammed on his head," Ruiz said.

The criminal case will be back in court in January. The victim's family has also filed a civil lawsuit against the suspect and the Elbow Room.


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