Former Raiders coach says alleged assault was self-defense

Former Poly coach testifies that he felt scared when alleged victim yelled, so he attacked in defense

ppemberton@thetribunenews.comApril 22, 2013 

Randy Hanson, 44, was arrested Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012, on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. Original story »

A former Oakland Raiders football coach charged with assault said he was frightened by his alleged victim, who had taunted him about a highly publicized incident involving the team’s then-head coach.

“He said, ‘So you’re the coach that got his ass kicked by Tom Cable,’ ” Randy Hanson, 45, testified Monday.

Hanson, a former Cal Poly football coach who has worked for several college and NFL teams, is charged with two felonies for hitting James Kelsey, 51, of Avila Beach, in the face with a beer bottle on Aug. 3, 2012.

The District Attorney’s Office has argued that a very drunk Hanson had no motive to hit Kelsey outside a Pismo Beach bar, causing Kelsey to suffer a broken nose and a concussion. But defense attorney Ilan Funke-Bilu told a jury Monday that Hanson was merely defending himself after Kelsey — a Raiders fan — attacked him.

“He had no intent to hurt him,” Funke-Bilu said. “He was just trying to deflect the attack.”

At the time, Hanson was a defensive backs coach with Cal Poly’s football team. Cal Poly head coach Tim Walsh had asked Hanson to help entertain several Mustangs boosters on Aug. 3, and Hanson agreed.

While Hanson was with the boosters at Mr. Rick’s in Avila Beach, Kelsey helped them obtain a limousine. As a gesture of appreciation, Hanson invited Kelsey and his group to ride along.

In the limo, Hanson said, the boosters wanted to know more about a highly publicized incident between Hanson and former Raiders head coach Tom Cable.

In 2009, Cable allegedly threw Hanson off a chair and into another piece of furniture, breaking Hanson’s jaw.

“The subject always came back to Tom Cable breaking my client’s jaw,” Funke-Bilu said in his opening statement. “These boosters just kept on talking about it.”

The limo later stopped at Harry’s Night Club & Beach Bar in Pismo Beach. At some point, Hanson said, Kelsey — having heard the conversation in the limo — approached him and mentioned the alleged incident with Cable.

Hanson said he responded that the incident didn’t happen as Kelsey described it, then called Cable a “p---y.”

According to Hanson, Kelsey angrily shouted back, “Cable’s a Raider! You’re a f-----g p---y!”

Hanson said the look in Kelsey’s eyes scared him.

“I thought he looked like he wanted to kill me,” he said. “He looked like a middle linebacker — like Ray Lewis — who’s looking at the quarterback before the ball is snapped, looking to tear his head off,” Hanson added, referring to the famed Baltimore Ravens player.

Hanson said he quickly retreated to the limo, but Kelsey and his stepson soon followed, banging on the window and yelling, “Cable’s a Raider!” and “Get out, p---y!”

“I was yelling back at them, ‘Get away from me, leave me alone,’ and ‘I don’t know who you are,’ ” Hanson said.

At one point, he said, an intoxicated Kelsey yelled, “I’m Tom Cable’s cousin, and I’m gonna kick your ass!”

Hanson said he rolled a window down to calm Kelsey, but at that point, Kelsey allegedly reached in and grabbed Hanson’s poncho.

“As I pulled to get away from him, I heard the shirt rip,” Hanson said.

Hanson said he then reached for a beer bottle on the seat next to him.

Hanson’s testimony continues today.

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