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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Giants Fan Is Off The Hook For Fatal Stabbing of Dodgers Fan

Posted By on Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 5:22 PM

click to enlarge Michael Montgomery, free man - CBS5
  • CBS5
  • Michael Montgomery, free man

Just in time for Major League Baseball's Opening Day, there's resolution in the fatal stabbing of Jonathan Denver, a Los Angeles Dodgers fan, who was killed after a Giants game in San Francisco last September.

No crime was committed, as far as the criminal justice system is concerned.

Michael Montgomery, 21, was arrested on suspicion of fatally stabbing 24-year-old Denver in a fight that began over baseball just a few hours after a Dodgers-Giants tilt ended on Sept. 25, 2013.

Late last week, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón announced that it is "impossible" to prove that Montgomery didn't stab Denver in self-defense, largely due to a lack of credible witnesses, as everyone involved in the fracas is said to have been drunk

So no charges are being filed. Needless to say, Denver's family is not happy.

In an interview with the San Jose Mercury News, Denver's grandfather, Robert Preece of Covina, thought that prosecutors could at the very least file manslaughter charges.

Denver's death is sports-related, as it's supposedly Denver's Dodgers gear that led to the confrontation on Third Street with Montgomery's crew, who were in Giants attire. Yet the killing didn't grab the same level of media attention that Bryan Stow did. Stow, Santa Cruz paramedic and Giants fan, was nearly beaten to death by two Dodgers fans in 2011.

Stow has permanent brain damage and will require extensive care for the rest of his life. Nabbing his two attackers required an intense police manhunt. And because the attack occurred in the Dodger Stadium parking lot, the beating also led to an overhaul of stadium security across the league (and was the final mark against the record of former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, who sold the team a year later).

The Giants organization rightly rallied around Stow, whose attackers were convicted largely because of self-incriminating remarks they made to each other in custody.

But no such luck for Denver, whose father is a Dodgers security guard. In this scenario, what's known is that Denver, his father and his brother, after attending the game got into a verbal altercation with Montgomery and his crew at 10:30 p.m., just a few blocks away from the ballpark.

Words were exchanged and a fight broke "within minutes," according to Gascón. Denver punched Montgomery, and Denver's brother swung a chair, smacking Montgomery hard (the pair outweighed Montgomery by 100 pounds), according to prosecutors.

Montgomery then reportedly pulled out a knife and stabbed Denver once, killing him, prosecutors said.

Last Friday evening, which is the perfect time to bury bad news, Gascón's office issued a press release expressing sorrow and sympathy for Denver's family while saying that prosecutors could not meet the burden of proof necessary to file charges.

"With multiple sources indicating how the event transpired, it makes it impossible for us to meet our burden and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Montgomery was not acting in self-defense," the DA said in a press release. "We are ethically obligated to decline to prosecute this case."

Meanwhile, Denver's family is predictably shattered and is looking for solace somewhere.

"Every morning he [Montgomery] got to wake up and think about the fact he stabbed someone and he died," Preece told the Merc. "I know it's a heavy burden on his heart and even though he's not going to be convicted by our courts he's convicted in his own heart."

Perhaps. Although Montgomery is "doing really well," his father told the paper.

Giants play the Dodgers on April 4, everyone. There are plenty of good seats still available.

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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