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FRED GLADDIS / Davis Enterprise

File. Clayton Garzon appears in Yolo Superior Court, where his bail rose to $520,000.

Defense attorney denies anti-gay hate crime in Davis beating

Published: Tuesday, May. 21, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 - 6:12 pm

The defense attorney for accused hate attacker Clayton Garzon asserted Monday that the March beating of another Davis man was not fueled by anti-gay sentiment.

Garzon, 20, faces three felony assault charges and hate crime allegations connected to the beating of Lawrence "Mikey" Partida early March 10 near Third and I streets in Davis. The attack occurred outside a birthday party for Partida that was across the street from where Garzon lives.

At a preliminary hearing that resumed Monday in Yolo Superior Court, Garzon attorney Linda Parisi tried to show that the attack on Partida, who is homosexual, was not motivated by anti-gay hate.

Parisi also tried to demonstrate that Garzon was assaulted by the party's host and a bar bouncer who knew Partida and chased Garzon after the attack.

The attorney called Brigham Young University linguistics professor William Eggington, who testified that slurs targeted at Partida were "more consistent with challenging someone's masculinity," than with hate speech.

The professor also said that a tolerant upbringing at home in a liberal community "would lower the possibility that this would be a gender- related crime."

But Shannon Cooper, who hosted a party for Partida's 33rd birthday and was among the first to see Partida after the beating, told a different story.

Cooper said he heard what sounded like someone hitting or kicking a duffel bag, then four loud knocks on the front door. He opened the door to find Partida unconscious and bleeding in Cooper's front yard.

"I walked out and saw Mikey covered in blood," Cooper said. "Clayton was walking away. He said, 'Your (gay slur) cousin, was talking (expletive). I had to (expletive) him up.' "

Cooper said Garzon then started toward him and that Cooper punched Garzon before pinning him to the ground.

"(Garzon) was pleading not to call the police, that it would ruin everything for him," Cooper said Garzon told him. Garzon then kicked free and leaped a fence for the short run to his home across the street.

About that time, bar bouncer Josh Lawson said he was walking home from the G Street bar where he works when he heard yelling and ran to find Cooper on top of Garzon. He also saw Partida down. Lawson said he later chased Garzon across I Street to Garzon's home and used a suppression hold on Garzon's neck, causing him to briefly black out.

Neither Cooper nor Lawson saw Garzon attack Partida, they told attorneys.

Parisi focused on Lawson, the bar bouncer, who she said had rage and anger issues and rendered her client unconscious.

Under questioning from Parisi, Lawson said he had been prescribed Zoloft and was taking other medication for "issues of rage and depression." Lawson also admitted he posted about Garzon on social media after the March incident, writing, "I wouldn't piss on the burning embers of his charred corpse."

Parisi at one point asked Lawson if he had animosity toward Garzon.

"Anybody who beats somebody until near death, I have animosity toward them," Lawson said.

Testimony continues today in Yolo Superior Court.

Call The Bee's Darrell Smith, (916) 321-1040.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

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