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scene in the Southland | SOUTHERN SECTION REPORT

Misdemeanors Possible in South Torrance Case

November 02, 2000|GARY KLEIN

Formal charges may be filed today in the case of a high school football coach who was allegedly assaulted by members of a player's family, but felony convictions will not be sought, a spokesman for the Torrance Police Department said Wednesday.

John Martinez Sr., 34, and his brother, Anthony Martinez, 23, both of Lomita, were arrested after the incident that occurred shortly after South Torrance High's 24-21 loss at North Torrance on Oct. 20.

John Martinez's son, John Jr., is a senior running back and linebacker for South Torrance. The elder Martinez was reportedly angry that his son had only three carries in the loss to North Torrance and allegedly confronted Spartan Coach Brett Peabody.

According to police, after a short conversation between the men, the elder Martinez, without provocation, hit Peabody from behind and knocked him to the ground, where he also was struck by Anthony Martinez.

Torrance police booked the Martinez brothers on suspicion of misdemeanor battery and released them.

The case was submitted to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office Tuesday, said Sgt. Kevin Kreager, a spokesman for Torrance police. Kreager said that, after review, it was referred to the city prosecutor's office Wednesday as a possible misdemeanor case.

Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, said Nikola Mikulicich, a deputy district attorney, referred the case because it did not rise to the felony level.

Gibbons said Mikulicich cited the fact that John Martinez Sr. and Anthony Martinez had no prior criminal history and that Peabody's injuries were minor.

Peabody walked with a limp as he returned to the sideline last Friday for South Torrance's 56-0 Ocean League victory over Compton Centennial. Peabody was supplied with a police presence throughout the game and said he was still in physical and emotional pain.

South Torrance plays a home game against Inglewood on Friday.

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