SANTA ANA, Calif. – A 25-year-old man was acquitted Tuesday of felony charges, but convicted of a misdemeanor, for his part in a bar fight in Fullerton that left a victim comatose for about two years.
Pedro Cuevas Jr. of Anaheim was acquitted of felony counts of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury and battery with serious bodily injury, and jurors rejected sentencing enhancements for inflicting great bodily injury and causing a victim to be comatose or paralyzed. Cuevas was convicted of misdemeanor battery and is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 6.
Co-defendants Frank Renteria and Trevor Poe pleaded guilty previously to misdemeanor charges. Poe was placed on probation for one year and Renteria was sentenced to 20 days in jail.
Police responded to the bar fight on Nov. 27, 2019, in the 100 block of North Harbor Boulevard at the Matador Cantina.
The three defendants were accused of attacking Bryan Calvachi and his two brothers Oswaldo and Michael, according to a trial brief from Deputy District Attorney John Sinclair.
Renteria punched the victim multiple times, staggering him, Sinclair said. As he backed off, Cuevas ran up and struck the victim he fell down and struck his head on a planter near a light pole, Sinclair said. Cuevas was also accused of punching Michael Cavachi with such force he knocked him out briefly, Sinclair said.
Cuevas was also accused of beating Oswaldo Cavachi along with Poe, Sinclair said.
Bryan Cavachi had a brain bleed and a skull fracture, Sinclair said. He was placed in a medically induced coma and spent most of 2019 through 2021 in a coma, Sinclair said. He remains intubated and needs assistance to breathe and eat, and has been mostly in a vegetative state until recently when he was able to communicate by blinking and moving his arms slightly, the prosecutor said.
Defense attorney David Salvin said in court papers that the other group shouted homophobic slurs and hate speech at his client’s group, triggering the conflict.
Cuevas and another person in his group “physically intervened to avoid physical violence and forcefully held the man back from starting a physical fight,” Salvin said.
A short time later, the defendant and his group were walking to a spot to catch an Uber ride when someone in the other group grabbed someone from their group, triggering the scrum.
Cuevas did not start the fight and did all he could do to avoid one and acted in self-defense of himself and his friends, Salvin said.