Trial begins for Washington man charged in Houston assault

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A jury of seven women, five men and two female alternates began hearing testimony Monday morning in the case of a local man charged with aggravated assault on two brothers in June 2012 in Houston.


Cameron Phillip Reihner, 22, of Washington, is accused of being part of a group that attacked Jonathan and Stephen Irizarry in the parking lot of a business in the 100 block of West Pike Street.


Jonathan Irizarry, 28, of First Street, said he and his brother did not know the alleged perpetrators whom they encountered at Denny’s Restaurant, 1395 West Chestnut St., Washington, while the Irizarrys were eating a late-night meal after spending the evening at a bar. Jonathan Irizarry said he had consumed four to five rum-and-Coke drinks.


An argument ensued and Reihner and his friends were escorted from the restaurant. They then banged on a restaurant window and motioned for the Irizarrys to step outside. As they departed, Jonathan Irizarry’s wife tried to calm the situation. Jonathan Irizarry testified that when they arrived home, they discovered they had been followed.


“I told my wife to go into the house,” Jonathan Irizarry told the jury under questioning by Assistant District Attorney Michael Fagella. “They were yelling some things as they were driving away from the house. Steve went after them.”


The car stopped in the parking lot of a West Pike Street business.


Jonathan Irizarry said he joined his brother in the parking lot and was approached by Reihner, who was carrying an aluminum bat, and beaten. He said he has suffered the loss of peripheral vision in his left eye, a broken nose, other facial fractures and a broken ankle, on which he wears a brace.


“I thought I was going to die,” Jonathan Irizarry testified.


A passing motorist called police. Reihner was linked to the crime through amateur sleuthing that led to identification of his photo on the social media site Facebook.


In his opening argument, Reihner’s attorney, Peter V. Marcoline III, called the case one of “large inconsistencies” and claimed, “early interviews did not implicate Cameron Reihner.”


He told the jury, “You’re going to have to determine if there was anyone with a ball bat at all.”


Presiding at the trial is Judge John DiSalle.


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