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Men charged with beating Chicago pizza restaurant owner, but their attorneys say bouncers started it

4 men charged with beating owner of Southwest Side Chicago restaurant
4 men charged with beating owner of Southwest Side Chicago restaurant 02:48

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A recent fight sent the owner of a Mount Greenwood pizza restaurant to the hospital, but the four suburban men accused in the attack brought evidence to court Tuesday that they claim proves what happened wasn't their fault.

The men appeared for an unusually long detention hearing Tuesday at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse. It played out like a mini-trial, and lasted about two hours.

Ultimately, all four defendants were released from custody—but are due in court again next week.

The judge's decision not to detain the young men was based largely on conflicting versions of what happened outside Barraco's Pizza Chicago, 3047 W. 111th St., this past weekend.

The four young men were drunk and were asked to leave the restaurant in Mount Greenwood early Sunday morning. They got into a fight with staff members outside—including the owner, Nick Barraco.

One of the young men is accused of punching Barraco in the face.

Barraco fell to the ground and hit his head, and the Cook County State's Attorney's office said Barraco was left with a skull fracture and a brain bleed—and remained in the hospital Tuesday.

Chicago Police arrested Andrew Fedyk of La Grange Park, Harry Kenny of Glen Ellyn, Frank Paris of River Forest, and John Powers IV of Oak Park—all 20 years old—on the blocks near Barraco's restaurant. Prosecutors said they acted together and are all responsible for what happened to Barraco.

But defense attorneys presented a different story. They claim the bouncers of the restaurant—including an off-duty police officer—were the aggressors.

The defense even showed cellphone video of the incident to the judge.

The video was not played for all to see in court, but the judge said it contradicts statements made by witnesses.

"We presented a video today that showed that it was, in our position, the bouncers who were the aggressors—and the court, I think, handled it appropriately," said Damon Cheronis, attorney for defendant John Powers. "They're all young men who've never been arrested, never been in trouble, were not looking for trouble—and, you know, we're going to have to see the rest of this in court."

Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th) said he is a personal friend of the owner of Barraco's restaurant.

"I don't know about Nick Barraco's comeback from this, but I think it's important that everybody knows the kind of person he is," said O'Shea, "and too often, when we're here in this building, we're not talking about the victims."

All four young men are charged with aggravated battery in a public place, causing great bodily harm, and to a victim 60 or older. Fedyk is also charged with using a fake ID, Paris is charged with robbery for unspecified reasons, and Powers is charged with aggravated battery involving strangulation or choking.

They are due back in court again Monday, July 1.

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