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Ump attack case: Judge sets bondat $250,000

Eric Dybas, the man who grabbed umpire Laz Diaz this week in Chicago, could face five years in prison if he is convicted.

©Associated Press
April 18, 2003

CHICAGO -- A judge set bond at $250,000 on Thursday for a man who attacked an umpire during a Royals-White Sox game.

Eric Dybas of Bolingbrook, Ill., was charged with one count of felony aggravated battery and one count of misdemeanor criminal trespass. If convicted, he could be sentenced to five years in prison.

The 24-year-old Dybas came out of the stands and grabbed umpire Laz Diaz around the legs during Tuesday night's game.

Dybas appeared in court with his lawyer. Cook County Judge Nicholas Ford called Dybas' actions disturbing and said nobody should be subjected to violent acts at a ballpark.

"That place was filled with people. Anything could have happened," Ford said. "Somebody has to say no to this conduct, and it's going to be me."

Dybas was the fourth fan to run onto the field that night. The other three did not attack anyone and were charged with misdemeanor trespassing.

Assistant State Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said Dybas told police he saw two people enter the field before him. "He wanted to one-up them and run onto the field and do something more outrageous," Scaduto said.

Defense attorney Frank Kostouros said his client has an alcohol problem, and that his behavior was a result of that. The lawyer said Dybas was drinking at a Cubs game before going to the White Sox game.

"This was a regrettable, alcohol-motivated stunt," Kostouros said.

Outside court, Kostouros called the bond "oppressive." He said Dybas has been unemployed since December and is dealing with his mother's breast cancer.

"He knows he made a stupid mistake. He does feel very bad about what happened," Kostouros said. "To make an example out of him would not be justice."

In September, Kansas City coach Tom Gamboa was pummeled by a father and son just yards from where Tuesday's attack took place.

The White Sox have since beefed up security, and the commissioner's office said everything possible will be done to eliminate fan violence.

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