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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Charges Dropped In Cape Coral, FL-tTowing Incident

Here's the story from The News-Press:
Elvis won't be singing "Jailhouse Rock" and Capt. Jack Sparrow won't be thrown in the brig.

During a court hearing Tuesday, prosecutors dropped misdemeanor battery charges against the two men, who, dressed in costumes of the King and the famous Hollywood Pirate, were arrested Halloween weekend during a disturbance outside a Cape Coral bar.

Mark Oefinger, 36, of Cape Coral, who was dressed as Captain Jack, and Brian Gibens, 31, dressed as Elvis, were accused of roughing up wrecker driver Alexander Arocha-Diaz, 34.

However, there was no evidence either man battered Arocha-Diaz outside The Dek Bar on Southeast 15th Avenue, said Oefinger's attorney, Aaron O'Brien.

Witnesses later came forward to say Oefinger and Gibens never touched Arocha-Diaz and the battery charges were dismissed, O'Brien said.

Both men said they were glad they won't be spending as much as a year in jail on the battery charges.

"I'm happy with the way it turned out," Oefinger said.

"I'm really happy, but the case should never have gone as far as it did," said Gibens.

Arocha-Diaz could not be reached for comment.

Arocha-Diaz, according to police reports, told officers Oefinger, who was dressed like a pirate, and Gibens, wearing Elvis clothing, pushed and held him to prevent him from towing a car in the parking lot of a church next to the bar.

Arocha-Diaz said he could see the men's faces and later identified them as the men who allegedly accosted him.

However, "nothing like that happened. We just stood there. We never touched him," Oefinger said.

He said he and Gibens came to the aid of the car's owner, who was from out of state.

"We saw that this car with an out-of-state tag and thought, 'this poor guy is going to have his car towed,'" Oefinger said.

He said he and Gibens tried to talk Arocha-Diaz out of towing the car.

"That's when the owner came out, got in his car, and left," Gibens said.

"The tow truck driver was ... really belligerent," Gibens said.

Gibens said the wrecker driver then accused them of assaulting him.

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