GALVESTON — Outcry from friends and neighbors of a Galveston resident who claim he was severely beaten in his own backyard and denied justice when a grand jury declined to indict his alleged attacker earlier this year led authorities to review the case.
However, a review of the existing evidence and new interviews with witnesses of the alleged beating found no additional “material evidence,” and the case will not be re-presented to a grand jury, Galveston County District Attorney Jack Roady said Friday.
The decision comes months after a grand jury no-billed the man who allegedly attacked Bobby Wasylik, 68, who said he was beaten so severely March 14 that he suffered six strokes and a fractured shoulder bone.
Wasylik and his supporters, who flooded the district attorney’s office and police department with emails in the months following the alleged attack and subsequent grand jury hearing, called into question how the case was investigated and presented.
Wasylik also hired former Houston television reporter Wayne Dolcefino as a consultant to investigate what Wasylik described as a cover-up.
Roady said the case was reviewed, but no new evidence was discovered. A police detective interviewed several new witnesses, but discovered no information that would change the case presented to the grand jury, he said.
“The bottom line is that everything was done correctly in this case,” Roady said.
Roady dismissed Wasylik and his supporters’ claims that prosecutors were conspiring to protect Wasylik’s alleged attacker, who was represented by former Galveston County District Attorney Michael Guarino.
Wasylik said he suspects Guarino’s familiarity with the prosecuting attorney who presented the case to the grand jury affected the case.
“It’s either political or there’s money changed hands,” Wasylik said.
Roady said that it’s not unusual for Guarino, who served as district attorney for 20 years, to be familiar with lawyers in Galveston County, and his role as a defense attorney had no effect on how the case was presented to the grand jury.
In a letter to Wasylik’s attorney, former Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski, Roady wrote Friday that Wasylik’s theories were unfounded.
“Giving his supporters the benefit of the doubt, I believe their misplaced concerns are based on bad information and untruths,” Roady wrote. “I am confident that these rumors and wild-eyed theories are as offensive to you as they are to me.”
Roady’s letter also refers to an incident in December 2008, when Wasylik and one of his close friends were charged with misdemeanor assault after an altercation outside Moody Gardens.
Wasylik eventually pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of disorderly conduct.
According to a police report on the incident, Wasylik and a friend got into an argument with a couple dining at a restaurant in the Moody Gardens Hotel.
The argument moved outside, where, a witness told police Wasylik and a friend assaulted the man they were arguing with, according to the report. Other witnesses told police they were struck by Wasylik or his friend while trying to separate the combatants, according to the report.
Wasylik said Friday he was actually attacked by the other man involved in the altercation and said he was the only person struck that night.
He said the argument originated with other diners’ complaints that Wasylik and his friends “were being loud,” but said he had not been the aggressor in any altercation.
He said prosecutors were using the incident to unfairly portray him as a man with “violent tendencies,” and said it should not have an influence on the case against his alleged attacker.
The attack on Wasylik was alleged to have occurred March 14. Wasylik said a 42-year-old man came to his house in the 1500 block of 16th Street and repeatedly struck him, fracturing his shoulder and causing him to have six strokes.
Days before, Wasylik had driven a golf cart over to a friend’s house in the 1500 block of Avenue M.
Wasylik said the wife of his alleged attacker and a neighbor to the house he was visiting angrily asked him to move the golf cart.
The man accused of beating Wasylik later told police Wasylik threatened his wife with “physical body injury,” according to a probable cause affidavit. When he returned home and heard this from his wife, the man told police, he went to Wasylik’s home to confront him.
The man told a detective Wasylik raised his hand “in effort to slap him,” prompting the man to grab Wasylik and throw him to the ground, according to the affidavit.
The man said he did not intend to break Wasylik’s shoulder, according to the affidavit.
A Galveston police detective interviewed Wasylik at the hospital, and spoke with his alleged attacker on the phone some time later.
Police coordinated with the U.S. Marshal Service to conduct surveillance on the man’s house before the man was arrested and after Wasylik repeatedly called police to report the man being out in public. Authorities determined the man was out of town on business, which he had told police, Roady said.
The man was eventually charged with aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, and turned himself in on April 1 before being released on a $10,000 bond.
The grand jury called to hear the charge heard testimony from the detective investigating the case, but declined to hear from Wasylik, his alleged attacker or the man’s wife, Roady said.
Roady said he could not speculate on the grand jurors’ reasoning, but said that the full case had been presented.
New interviews and a review of the evidence following the “no bill” did not turn up any new “material evidence,” and the case will not be re-presented, he said.
Wasylik said he intends to continue pressuring the police and district attorney’s office.
Dolcefino, the former investigative reporter Wasylik hired as a consultant, said Wasylik “has grounds for multiple lawsuits.”
He criticized how the case was handled and the decision to not re-present it.
“Somebody told that grand jury something,” he said.