Victim's brother disputes claim Giants stabbing was self defense

October 3, 2013 10:16:11 PM PDT
Last week a Lodi man was arrested for the stabbing death of 24-year-old Jonathan Denver following a San Francisco Giants game. But he was released when San Francisco's district attorney said there wasn't enough evidence.

Denver's brother and childhood friend say they were the only two men with Denver when a much larger group attacked them on the street. They admit there were words exchanged, and a chair was thrown, but they dispute claims made by the suspect's father that Denver's stabbing was done in self-defense.

"I want the kid that took my brother from me so soon to be behind bars," Denver's brother Robert Preece said.

Preece says he decided to tell his story now because he wants justice for his younger brother, the Dodgers fan who was stabbed to death last week after a Giants game.

"We were just walking up the street and a big group of guys came up behind us," Preece said.

Preece says he and Denver and family friends went to the game to celebrate their father's 49th birthday. Not everyone was a Dodgers fan. In fact, some in the group wore Giants gear. But after the game, and after a stop at a local bar, Preece, Denver and their friend Joey were walking near 3rd and Harrison streets when a larger group of men came up behind them.

That group includes a young man Preece identifies as Michael Montgomery, a 21-year-old from Lodi who was arrested for stabbing Denver and later released.

"Why would you carry a knife if you weren't anticipating something was going to happen or if you weren't looking for trouble," Preece asked.

Joey, who did not want his face shown on television, says reports that their group had encountered Montgomery and his friends earlier in the night are untrue.

"It just, all of a sudden, it just broke out into fighting," Joey said.

Joey says someone in the other group threw the first punch and there were eight of them and just himself, Preece and Denver.

Montgomery's father, Monty Montgomery, has said his son stabbed Denver, but only in self-defense, after Denver hit Montgomery with a chair.

"I was just protecting my brother," Preece said.

Preece says he, not Denver, swung a chair at Montgomery.

"Just an aluminum beach chair; it was a gift from my father from Dodger Stadium," Preece said.

Though Montgomery has been released, San Francisco police continue to investigate his claims that he stabbed Denver in self-defense.

"From the police department standpoint, you can't end a fight by swinging a knife and you certainly can't kill somebody," San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said.

"Somebody took my brother too soon, a little too soon and it wasn't worth it," Preece said.

District Attorney George Gascon says he won't file charges against Montgomery until police provide independent witnesses or evidence that could lead to a conviction.


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