Updated 5:54 AM on Monday, April 16, 2007

Northgate stabbing details still unclear

Friend says Marine saved his life in deadly fight

Eagle Staff Writer

A deadly stabbing at Northgate almost two weeks ago still has police trying to piece together what unfolded, while a lawyer involved in the case said there's more to it than what the public has heard.

What College Station police do know is that twin brothers Jonathan and Janson Bailey were customers at the same bar as two buddies serving in the U.S. Marines - Ronald Andrew Johnson and Mike Fuller. Witnesses concur that a fight started in the bar between one of the brothers and Fuller, and it ignited again once everyone was outside the V-Bar club just before the 2 a.m. closing time.

Witness accounts of what happened next vary.

What's clear is that Jonathan Bailey, a Rice University basketball player, died from stab wounds suffered in the second fight and his brother was also stabbed and had to be hospitalized for a few days.

Johnson, who has no felony convictions, was arrested on murder charges 36 hours after the April 5 incident after telling police he stabbed the twins, according to court documents. Fuller has not been charged in connection with the incident.

Fuller's attorney, Rick Ramos of Houston, said Johnson was trying to help his friend - a fellow corporal with whom he served three tours in Iraq - who was being beaten.

While a press release sent following the incident didn't mention Fuller or his injuries, a probable cause statement used to arrest Johnson did. It described Fuller's injuries as being consistent with someone in a serious fight. His eyes were swollen shut and he had multiple bruises.

Ramos said his client, who is scheduled for reconstructive surgery on an eye injured in the fight, doesn't have any defensive wounds on his hands to show that he fought back.

"His mindset is that if Mr. Johnson did not come to his rescue, I don't think Mike Fuller would be here today," Ramos said in a telephone interview.

Repeated attempts to reach Fuller and Johnson were not successful. Janson Bailey, a Blinn College student, also could not be reached for comment.

Jonathan Bailey's teammates and his brother were pallbearers at his funeral Saturday, where the 22-year-old was described as light-hearted, kind and helpful, according to published reports.

College Station police won't comment about the case, saying it's still under investigation.

"The police are doing a great job and investigating the facts of the case," Ramos said. "They are doing what they are supposed to be doing and they are going to get to the bottom of it."

Ramos said Fuller and his family say Fuller and Jonathan Bailey were thrown out of the bar and Jonathan Bailey began beating Fuller in the parking lot.

"He was hit on the back of the head and the side of the head," Ramos said, adding that his client did not fight back. "He is severely hurt right now."

Ramos said Johnson saw Fuller being beaten and went to his rescue by stabbing the two brothers.

"When Mr. Johnson walked out of the bar, he saw his buddy in those circumstances and came to his aid," Ramos said.

Court documents describing an interview police had with Fuller the day of the incident indicate that Fuller told police a similar story.

Friends of the Bailey twins told a slightly different version, according to police reports.

Their statements to police indicated that Janson Bailey, not Jonathan, punched Fuller in the face several times while they were in the bar. They were kicked out and Janson Bailey walked up to apologize when another fight broke out, according to the statements.

The friends told police that Janson Bailey dodged the punches and hit Fuller several times while on the ground. A friend then pulled Janson Bailey away while friends of Fuller helped him to his feet, according to court documents.

The fight then split up, witnesses said. A few minutes later, the friends saw Janson Bailey fighting more than one person, the friends told police. The group said they went to his aid and began punching and kicking the men who were attacking the twins, according to court documents. During that altercation, they realized that the twins were bleeding, according to reports. The men who the friends claimed were attacking Janson Bailey then ran away, the friends said in the court documents.

Police identified Fuller by looking up an open tab he had in the bar, and they confronted him at his apartment a few hours later, according to records.

Johnson was staying at Fuller's apartment and told police that he had stabbed the two men, according to documents. Documents also say that Fuller told police he pulled a knife in the incident, but he did not make contact with anyone.

• Matthew Watkins' e-mail address is matthew.watkins@ theeagle.com.