An Ellinwood man pleaded not guilty Tuesday afternoon to a charge of aggravated battery stemming from a Halloween night incident that left another man with continued effects from his injuries.
After a preliminary hearing in which Ellis County Magistrate Judge Richard Flax found enough evidence to proceed with the charge against Tyson P. Martinez, 21, the judge allowed defense attorney Don Anderson’s request for arraignment since Martinez must travel from Barton County and take time off work for each court appearance.
Martinez is free on a $125,000 bond posted Nov. 1. He was arrested early that morning after an altercation in which he is accused of body-slamming Israel M. Paz-Mijares, 22, headfirst into the street in the intersection of West Seventh and Elm streets.
Paz-Mijares’s skull was fractured in two places and his left clavicle broken. He was initially transported to Hays Medical Center, then flown to St. Francis Hospital in Wichita for treatment.
While Paz-Mijares testified he didn’t remember all of the events of that night, he still suffers some effects of the injuries he received. He has some hearing loss in his left ear and nerve damage in his left shoulder. He demonstrated on the stand he could lift his left arm to only about shoulder height.
Two witnesses — Keagan R. Davis and Jenice Hernandez-Garcia, friends of Paz-Mijares who were with him that night — testified the trio had drinks at Hernandez-Garcia’s house, then went to the Uptown Fox, 1202 Main, and Chuck’s, 507 W. Seventh, on Halloween night.
Around 2 a.m. they left the bar and walked east on Seventh, where a party was going on at a house on the corner.
Davis, 24, said the friends first went inside the house, but not much was going on, so they went back outside. Around that time, two men — one wearing a pink flamingo costume — arrived and went inside the house. Hernandez-Garcia recognized the other man as someone she had once worked with. The women and Paz-Mijares said they hadn’t known Martinez prior to the party, but were able to identify him in the courtroom as the man in the flamingo costume that night.
Soon after, the two men came out of the house and the man in the costume got into an argument with a person who lived there over a table that had been knocked or flipped over, asking the man in the flamingo costume if he had done it. Both women testified it seemed like a fight might break out, but other people were able to calm the men down.
The party then seemed to wind down.
“That was a cue to leave,” Hernandez-Garcia said. She and her two friends started walking home. She said Martinez and his friend were ahead of them walking in the same direction.
Martinez’s friend was trying to calm him down, Hernandez-Garcia said, and she said some things to him as well, trying to calm him down.
Each of the women testified Martinez called Hernandez-Garcia a bitch. Hernandez-Garcia said she had picked up a drink in a red cup at the house party and was carrying it with her. She threw the liquid in Martinez’s face.
Words were exchanged and Paz-Mijares stepped in at some point to intervene.
Both of the women said they didn’t see what happened next, but each said Martinez and his friend were running away, then they saw Paz-Mijares on the ground.
“It happened so fast. He was right next to me,” Davis said of Paz-Mijares.
Paz-Mijares was face down on the ground with blood coming out of his ear.
“He couldn’t talk back to us. We tried to lift him up but couldn't,” Hernandez-Garcia said.
“He could not speak. He was just mumbling,” Davis said.
Adrian Cortes was driving by the intersection at that time and said he saw a group of about eight people crossing the street. As the group thinned out a bit, he said he saw a man in a pink costume and another man standing in the street face-to-face. The man in pink grabbed the smaller man around the waist, picked him up and dropped him head first, Cortes testified.
Cortes said he did not see any action that would instigate the body slam. He said he stopped his car and went to help as the man in pink ran away.
He testified he did not know Martinez, nor did he recognize him in the court room.
Cortes and Davis said they saw a vehicle driving by and realized it was a police officer and flagged him down for assistance.
Hays police officer Mackenzie Smith testified he called for assistance in locating the man in pink and called for medical help, recognizing that bleeding from the ear indicated a serious injury.
Another HPD officer and an Ellis County sheriff’s deputy located Martinez in the 700 block of Ash and placed him under arrest. At that time, he was no longer wearing the pink flamingo costume, but still had it in his possession, Smith said.
Smith testified the costume had a smear of blood on it.
Corrected 9:20 p.m. Feb. 12, 2020, for the defense attorney's name.