Mason's off the hook after his bar fight trial



The off-duty San Luis Obispo firefighter who was accused of severely beating another patron at a bar and grill in June 2011 will not face a retrial.

A mistrial was declared in the criminal case against John Ryan Mason on Sept. 27, with jurors splitting 8-4 in favor of acquittal following the three-week trial, which saw some 38 witnesses called to the stand.

The declaration left open the possibility of charges being filed a second time against Mason, something his attorney, Chris Casciola, previously told New Times was unlikely given the time and effort put into this trial and the eventual outcome.

On Oct. 18, Casciola’s prediction proved correct when prosecutors with the San Luis Obispo District Attorney’s Office declared in court that they wouldn’t be taking Mason back to court.

“Based on reasonable doubt, conflicts in the testimony as to self-defense were resolved by a majority of the jurors in favor of the defendant,” Jerret Gran, spokesperson for the SLO County DA’s Office, wrote New Times in an e-mail. “After an evaluation of all the evidence and absent the discovery of new or additional evidence, our office has determined that it will not retry the case.”

In an unusual trial that brought out conflicting witnesses and aired dirty laundry in front of a packed courtroom, prosecutors had accused Mason of beating Los Osos resident Jory Brigham in a bar bathroom following a dispute over Mason’s marital fidelity.

Mason’s attorney insinuated that Brigham’s injuries could have been the result of hitting a sink or the floor, which one witness—the doctor who treated Brigham—said was a possibility.

Brigham could still seek civil damages.

Add a comment