Matthew Lickona 11:49 p.m., Dec. 10
Oscar and Miguel said they enjoyed a “Posada” or Christmas party last December which was hosted by their employer. They said the evening included beer, and that their boss Juan Rivas was also drinking. They all work together at a Mexican fast-food place in Vista.
It all started on a Saturday night, December 17, and when the party went into the early hours of the next day, a group of employees piled into one car. They were all roommates at Miguel’s home in Escondido; they took off and got home about 2:30 a.m.
Just a few minutes later, their boss Juan Rivas drove up to the house with his wife Rose behind the wheel of their truck. “And he asked, who was going to work?” Oscar testified in court eight months later.
Apparently the boss wanted somebody to show up to work the overnight shift, that same night. This is when the trouble started.
Miguel remembered, “Oscar said that he was not going to go to work, and that Graciela was not going to go to work.” The boss, Juan Rivas, got out of the truck.
“Juan hit Tereso,” said Oscar. “On his face.”
“Jorge tried to separate them, but Juan also hit Jorge. He also hit my brother. He grabbed him by the hair like this.”
“When I saw that he was hitting my brother I got involved.”
Prosecutor Laurie Hauf described the situation as one employer who became very upset when none of his employees would show up for work at 2:30 a.m.
Defense attorney Natalie Galashty suggested the scuffle became several men holding Juan Rivas and taking turns punching him.
But the boss was the one who got charged with assault and battery. “He started the fist fight,” said the prosecutor. “He escalated the fight,” she said, “He brought out a knife.”
Oscar testified that Juan Rivas pulled a small knife out of his pocket and Oscar got stabbed in his chest and leg. He said he got thirteen stitches at hospital, and the prosecutor submitted evidence photos to court.
Oscar and Miguel and defendant Juan Rivas all had benefit of Spanish speaking interpreters for the hearing in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse today. At the end of the daylong preliminary hearing, Judge Aaron Katz concluded it was “an evening of drunkenness and anger and frustration.”
The judge ordered Juan Rivas to answer charges of assault and battery, and set his next court date for August 28.
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