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Officials reduce charges against accused Bucs fan

By TAMARA LUSH, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 1, 2003

TAMPA -- Authorities have reduced the criminal charges against a man accused of pouring beer over a Hillsborough Sheriff's deputy's head during a Buccaneers football game.

John Marshall, of Largo, was charged with felony battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest without violence and disorderly intoxication during a Nov. 24 game against the Green Bay Packers. Deputies patrolling the stadium said Marshall knocked the caps off the heads of Packers fans and tried to tussle with the officers.

Deputy Chris Baumann said in an affidavit that Marshall became irate when deputies approached, and dumped a beer over Baumann's head.

But the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office couldn't prove the beer was dumped intentionally.

Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi said the charges were then reduced to a single misdemeanor: resisting arrest without violence.

Marshall's lawyer, John Trevena, said the State Attorney's Office should drop the remaining charge and investigate the deputies instead.

Trevena said he has found three witnesses to the incident, and all said that Marshall was not intoxicated or out of control -- and he didn't throw a beer at the deputy.

"We are not understanding why the state attorney, who has been given the statements, why he would still continue to prosecute my client," Trevena said.

Trevena has asked the state attorney to investigate the deputies' conduct. Marshall maintains he was thrown to the ground and punched by the deputies.

Trevena has forwarded the witnesses' statements to Hillsborough Sheriff Cal Henderson.

Neither the Sheriff's Office nor the State Attorney's Office would confirm whether an investigation of the deputies' actions is under way. Both agencies do not routinely confirm such reviews until they are completed.

An arraignment on Marshall's misdemeanor charge is set for Feb. 24.

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