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Brother of stabbing victim says Giants fans started fight

October 04, 2013|By Joseph Serna and Lee Romney
  • Robert Preece and Robert Preece Jr., father and brother of Jonathan Denver, make a public plea for witnesses outside AT&T Park.
Robert Preece and Robert Preece Jr., father and brother of Jonathan Denver,… (Tony Avelar / AP )

The brother of a Los Angeles Dodgers fan stabbed to death in San Francisco last week after leaving a Giants game disputes claims that it was self-defense.

Robert Preece Jr. -- the brother of slain Dodgers fan Jonathan Denver -- told Bay Area news station KGO-TV that they and a friend were not the aggressors the night of Sept. 25, when they fought another group of men after comments about the team’s rivalry with the hometown Giants.

"We were just walking up the street and a big group of guys came up behind us," Preece told KGO.

PHOTOS: Fatal Dodgers fan stabbing near AT&T Park

Preece told the station he had an aluminum beach chair that Denver's dad gave him as a present from the game. He said he used it to protect Denver.

Preece's account differs from that given by the father of Michael Montgomery, who was arrested after the incident and booked into San Francisco County Jail the next afternoon. Police said Montgomery implicated himself in the stabbing, but claimed it was self-defense.

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Montgomery's father said his son wielded his knife in self-defense only after "the kid that got stabbed" swung a chair, hitting Montgomery in the head.

A photo taken at the game shows Denver and his friend wearing Dodgers gear.

"My son defended himself," Martin Montgomery, 47, told the Chronicle. "That's all it was. Everybody's making it look like it was a team rivalry, but really it was two kids walking."

On Sept. 27, San Francisco District Atty. George Gascon sent the case against Montgomery back to police for further investigation, saying more witnesses needed to be interviewed to support or rule out legally justified homicide.

"I want the kid that took my brother from me so soon to be behind bars,” Robert Preece told KGO.

The weekend after the killing, more than 40 of Denver’s family and friends stood outside of the Giants stadium, AT&T Park, handing out fliers asking for anyone with information about the attack to come forward.

"We need your help," said one handout. "The SFPD and district attorney's office are seeking additional independent evidence regarding the death of our friend and family member Jonathan Denver," it reads, asking anyone with information who "can help bring forth the truth" to contact either agency.

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joseph.serna@latimes.com

Twitter: @josephserna

lee.romney@latimes.com

Twitter: @leeromney

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