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Brother of slain Dodgers fan says he swung chair

Robert Preece says he was protecting brother; disputes Lodi man’s self-defense claim

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Posted: Saturday, October 5, 2013 12:00 am

The brother of a Los Angeles Dodgers fan who was killed in a San Francisco brawl that police say was sparked by the long-running Dodgers-Giants rivalry is disputing a Lodi man’s argument that the stabbing was in self-defense.

At the same time, Robert Preece told San Francisco-based KGO-TV that he swung a chair in the melee after another, larger group of people came up behind them, the station reported on Thursday. He described the chair as an aluminum beach chair that was a gift from his father from Dodger Stadium. He said he used it to protect his brother.

Preece’s brother, Jonathan Denver, was fatally stabbed on Sept. 25 after attending the Dodgers-Giants game with Preece, their father and two others to celebrate their father’s 49th birthday. Denver lived in Fort Bragg, which is about 170 miles north of San Francisco.

Police have said that Denver’s group, many of whom were wearing Dodgers garb, got into a shouting match over the Dodgers with the suspect, 21-year-old Michael Montgomery of Lodi, and a group of people he was with — at least one of whom was wearing a Giants cap — a few blocks from the stadium.

Montgomery’s father, Marty, told the Lodi News-Sentinel that his son was jumped during the fight and stabbed Denver in self-defense after Denver and others yelled “Giants suck.” According to Marty Montgomery, his son said Denver hit him over the head with a chair during the fight.

Preece disputed the contention that Montgomery acted in self-defense, according to KGO-TV.

“I want the kid who took my brother from me so soon to be behind bars,” Preece told the station.

Montgomery was arrested, but later released. He has not been charged. Prosecutors said police needed to interview independent witnesses to the fight.

“We wholeheartedly understand the pain and grief the victim’s family is going through. We are continuing to work with SFPD on this active investigation,” the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office said in a statement Friday. “We continue to ask for the public’s help. If anyone witnessed the incident or has video, please contact the SFPD Homicide Detail immediately.”

However, the District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on Preece’s allegation because the case is still under investigation, spokeswoman Stephanie Ong Stillman said.

San Francisco police spokeswoman Sgt. Danielle Newman declined to comment on television interview, citing an ongoing investigation.

The stabbing was the latest incident stemming from one of the most passionate rivalries in sports. Two years ago, Giants fan Bryan Stow suffered permanent brain damage when he was attacked in Los Angeles.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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