(26) comments Back to story

GW Cornelius

Time to get this guy off the street.

Chris Gimenez

It's too late-he's already assured of a second term since there's no one running against him on the Democrat ticket.

Steve Fouga

"The man turned himself in April 1 on a charge of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, according to police records, but a grand jury later declined to indict him on a lesser assault charge."

The Grand Jury must have concluded that when the accused turned himself in it was an April Fool's joke, and thus declined to indict him.

Chris Gimenez

The April Fool's joke is that we have a justice system in Galveston County that treats everyone equally under the law. The victim needs to hire a private investigator to find out the accused's connection at GPD. He was allowed to turn himself in at his convenience on a felony charge so he knows someone either at GPD or the D.A.'s Office or both. That's their modus operandi.

Kevin Lang

The way I read it, supposedly the provoking act was a raising of an open hand. I guess there are some that think that the response to a provoking act does not need to account for the actual threat, nor whether the response is in line with the supposed provocation. I don't know how threatening his open hand might be, having not seen it. However, under the so called "Stand Your Ground" laws these days, i'm not sure that the level of threat means anything, and commensurate response doesn't either.

Certainly, the assailant is going to maintain that he felt threatened, and the victim is going to maintain that he wasn't a threat. What I wonder is what the witnesses saw. And, where were those witnesses when this was happening?

I might be able to understand the no-bill, but I don't understand why the grand jury spent so little time looking at it. A man sustained significant injuries. The length of his hospital stay seems to have warranted a bit more attention to detail.

Chris Gimenez

I'm willing to bet the GJ didn't hear about the two witnesses and that this was presented as a he said-he said scenario. Of course, if accurately reported the victim was attacked in his own back yard and yet this wasn't an assault? The only way we'll know what the GJ actually heard is if one of them dares to speak out.

Of course the GCDN-and I know this is a stretch-could ask Porretto if he or the detective is aware of any personal friendship or relationship the accused has with any law enforcement officer on GPD or the GCSO. And get them to state the answer on record. Bet they won't do that.

Lang, the reason the GJ spent so little time looking at it is the manner in which it was presented. Plain and simple. The fact remains that the D.A. Jack Roady is shameless when it comes to protecting law enforcement at the expense of seeing that justice is done.

"I will do the right things for the right reasons." Jack Roady

This guy has almost as much hubris as Heber Taylor.

Robert Johnson

Did you know that Former Galveston County District Mike Guarino, the attorney representing the man accused of beating Wasylik, also endorsed Jack Roady, for District Attorney. Do you think this is a little Quio Que Pro?

Dwight Strain

Thats the name of the game these days. Got a problem with someone? Track them down, confront them, beat them senseless, could even shoot them if ya want, all you have to say is "self defense" and then its on the victim to prove you wrong.

Stevie Maradeo

I think the grand jury needs a new group of people. How can charges be no billed without at least a misdemeanor charge of assault? I guess he has the right friends in the right places.

Chris Gimenez

It's not the makeup of the grand jury panel-it's the District Attorney and the law enforcement agency. They will always present the evidence in the manner needed to reach the desired outcome-no bill or indictment. They understand what they do in front of the GJ is secret so they have no fear of being exposed unless a jury member sees or hears evidence that wasn't presented that would have made a difference and then goes public. In this case it seems the attacker has some friends to take care of him. And of course we have a D.A. is who utterly shameless when it comes to perverting the law.

George Croix

At one time in this county you could kill somebody, cut them up, toss the pieces into the bay, then successfully claim self-defense and get off scott free.
Why is the disposition of this case at hand a great surprise?

Kathy Maddox

Why don't you release the attacker's name? You release other peoples' names that are charged with a crime. Let's see who's being protected.

Chris Gimenez

"“My detective investigated that case to the fullest,” Porretto said"

He didn't happen to go to the same investigative school that Sgt. Bruce Balchunas of the GCSO went to did he? That would explain everything.

Evelyn Clark

Well to all the people that said the law ( STAND YOU GROUND ) was good. Here is a good example of a bad LAW.

I remember years ago when the now chief ( HP ) took a gun home from a crime scene . They cover that up, so this is nothing new . [sad] [sad]

George Croix

"Six days after the incident with the golf cart, Wasylik said, he was severely beaten in his backyard."

"...in his backyard."!!!

How does that have anything to do with stand your ground when the person in his own backyard was the one beaten? Is the story wrong, and the elderly man was in the attacker's back yard?
Sounds more like trespassing on the part of the attacker before an assault.
Under stand your ground, had the old man beaten the crap out of the other guy when attacked on his own property, or shot him in fear for his life, THAT would have been stand your ground on Wasyliks part.
Stand your ground laws allow people NOT to have to run away from an attacker when under assault, and so, for many people, that's a very good thing, and a very bad thing for the attacker. If someone wants to back off, they still can.
I don't know of any that allow you to go looking for trouble 6 days after an incident, on someone else's property, and claim you are simply standing your ground.
If that's what is being used as an out to not indict here, then it's not the law that's the problem...it's the twisting of it for reasons contrary to the law's intent.

George Croix

Even under the most trying of circumstances, I cannot see myself ever taking a poke at an 80 year old man, no matter what he said or did.

As for the golf cart, if it were illegally parked and in the rightful property owner's way, why not call a tow truck and have it hauled off, and then the owner would have to pay to get it back.
This is a fubar'd mess. seems like some simple courtesy, or failing that simple rational thinking, could have prevented it all.

Kevin Lang

Rational thinking? You mean there are people that actually do that these day? I thought that went out before pet rocks were in.

Kevin Lang


I don't think the issue was ever about an illegally parked vehicle. It was a vehicle legally parked in front of a residence, and the residents supposedly just needed it moved so they could park a truck or something to load/unload some stuff. Supposedly, Wasylik was rude to the man's wife while moving the golf cart, and even six days later, emotions hadn't cooled enough to just blow off the snooty behavior.

I think where "Stand Your Ground" might come into play is under this scenario:

I invite you into my backyard to shoot the breeze and drink some bottles of Diet Coke. We're having a nice chat until it's time to reach into the cooler for another round of Diet Coke. You hand me a bottle with the label facing away from me. While telling you that my bottle must have the label facing me, I raise my hand, apparently to slap your face. You react by beating the holy bejeezus out of me.

George Croix

THAT is not what a stand your ground law is about. To say it is, or to use it as an excuse to let an apparently unstable person (which I personally would consider to be someone unable to let a 6 day old 'offense' by an elderly man go) off the hook, is wrong.
OK. Legally parked, but in the way...that's where the courtesy or at least rationality I said was missing should have come in, both sides.
Ultimately, it appears that it is what it is, and that not even a grand jury can fix stupid...which is what we have in play here, by any other name.
The theoretical scenario you described has nothing to do with standing your ground, and everything to do with one or more idiots/hotheads/both being close enough together for two wrongs to equal one bigger wrong.
Don't need a grand jury to figure that out.
A couple of 7 year olds would do just fine...

Kevin Lang

Sounds like you long for the old days where rational thinking was generally considered normal and necessary. Maybe in your mind, and mine, people should consider the circumstances and alternatives before acting. And, we should consider the importance of a situation before getting bent out of shape over it, and staying bent out of shape over it.

Someone should definitely slap the alleged attacker for even thinking about going down the street to "fight" something that, if it should have been a battle at all, would have been his wife's battle. And, if his wife believed there was a battle to be fought, I'd argue that she should get a judicial slap, too. And, if the older guy really was that rude to the wife when asked to move his vehicle, then he should get a judicial slap, too.

It seems that we have 3 people that are far too good at blowing things out of proportion. If it played out as it's been described, I definitely think the younger guy did the greatest amount of proportion blowing. But, there does appear to be additional responsibility to dole out. I would expect the DA and Grand Jury to do a better job of finguring it out, though, rather than just take a pass on it.

Chris Gimenez

The Grand Jury has no responsibility other than to review what is presented to them. The questions remain the same-was the GJ told about the two witnesses, were they told where the attack took place, and were they told about the victim's injuries?

GJ's can be led in one direction or the other by the DA depending on how he wants it to go. It'll probably take a true media outlet to ask the questions as the GCDN isn't going to do anything that would upset their endorsed candidate.

Kevin Lang

Doesn't the Grand Jury have the right/responsibility/capability to ask probing questions? Are they really just supposed to sit down, shut up, and listen only to what the lawyers tell them? My understanding is that, in principal, Grand Juries are investigative, but I don't know if that's the way they're employed in Texas or Galveston County.

George Croix

Asking questions guarantees you'll get told what whomever you asked wants to tell you. Asking questions with punishment under force of law for false replies is needed. The Catch 22 of that is if it's the law that you are asking....[wink]
Absent that threat, the only binder is the character of the information provider(s), and then only to the limit(s) of the veracity of the info he's using to reply with, or completeness of it.
The law is as imperfect as all other things in life are...
It doesn't help when distorting or flat out falsifying the 'facts' or 'truth' have become common ways to deal with questions or problems faced in these times in which we live...
So, who's fulluvit here...the parker...the complainer...the puncher...the inestigator...the jury...
At this point, as a certain 'baton passer' would say, what difference does it make...[rolleyes]

Lars Faltskog

I'm with kevinjlang on this one in regard to the lack of witnesses. Without a witness (one that has nothing to gain nor lose), then it cannot be determined if the older guy did something to make the other guy have to "protect himself". I have an inkling that the older Wasylik guy was harmless, and all the other dude had to do was walk away. The old guy may have made a motion that "seemed" menacing. So what - you walk away.

Big deal if the older guy was rude to the wife and seemed intoxicated. The younger husband/wife should be the "bigger" persons and understand that the old guy probably lived a life of being cantakerous. So, it's "he said, she said", and wasted resources to settle something that could have been prevented. Yet and still, you don't beat someone up to a pulp just because he raised his hand toward you. I'm wondering what the extent of the older man's injuries (with the strokes and the shoulder and all) had to play in eventually "no-billing" the case. Perhaps it wasn't convincing enough to say that the shoulder and strokes had anything to do with said assault. What I'm saying is that it seems the old man didn't prove there was bodily harm done to him by the "attacker".

Kurt Sistrunk

Chief Henry Poretto didn't pick this Grand Jury. It isn't the DA's grand jury. The members of a Grand Jury are selected randomly from a cross section of the residents of the county. Chief Poretto's officer charged the man with a crime and that's far from a coverup. It takes 9 Grand Jurors to true bill an accused, 9 true bill votes, and one lone vote can make the difference between charges being filed or not being filed. It wouldn't be the first time that has happened, one or two votes making the difference. We will never know the vote, but DA Roady is right, if new evidence comes to light, then he would be doing the right thing to present the new evidence for consideration of charges, but absent that, the Grand Jury, the independent citizens randomly selected have spoken, and the DA has to respect that decision and not "shop" the charges to another Grand Jury. The suggestion that the Galveston Police Department, the DA's office and the Grand Jury all worked to provide favor to the accused is a stretch of the imagination. The Grand Jury is our system of checks and balances to protect against one person being able to decide if charges will be filed against an individual. Absent new evidence or the DA believing that a miscarriage of Justice has occured, the decision of the Grand Jury has to be respected.

Chris Gimenez

"The suggestion that the Galveston Police Department, the DA's office and the Grand Jury all worked to provide favor to the accused is a stretch of the imagination."

It might be a stretch to think the GJ worked to provide favor to the accused but it's hardly a stretch to believe D.A. Jack Roady and/or Porretto did in the way it was presented to the GJ. Jack Roady lied to the AG's Office to cover up his misconduct and that of the GCSO in my case so I'm well aware of what he's willing to do.

And Mr. Sistrunk, you know that GJ's and juries may or may not get presented all the evidence and that evidence may or may not be collected and may be presented in any number of ways to jurors. Have you ever heard of Ken Anderson and Michael Morton? Study the Joshua Bledsoe case that Roady had and see what the TCPD and the D.A's Office did. Study the Frederick Mueller case and see what the GPD and the D.A.'s Office did. Ask Roady why he quietly dismissed the felony child abuse charge (indicted by a GJ) against TCPD Officer John Thorn without ever taking it to trial and ask the GCDN why they wouldn't report on that?

I think you were a good DA Mr. Sistrunk but to ask the public to believe that simply because someone is a DA or a police officer that everything they do will be on the up-and-up is what's a stretch. Roady has a record that proves what he's all about.

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