SLO firefighter to go to trial for alleged beating

A judge ruled Thursday that sufficient evidence was presented to proceed to a trial against a San Luis Obispo firefighter accused of assault and battery while off duty at a wedding celebration in June.

Judge Michael Duffy made the ruling in San Luis Obispo Superior Court against John Ryan Mason, who’s accused of assaulting Jory Brigham on June 4 at a wedding after-party at Pappy McGregor’s bar on Monterey Street in San Luis Obispo.

Mason, 34, has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of assault and battery against Brigham, who testified against Mason at a preliminary hearing that began Sept. 1. The hearing earlier this month didn’t finish that day and was postponed until Thursday.

The two men had feuded because Brigham wrote on his Facebook page a comment critical of those who walk out on their families. Brigham testified that his comment included Mason, though he didn’t write Mason’s name.

Brigham told investigators he and Mason had known each other six years and their wives were friends. The two men recently had strained relations over what was described in a police report as Mason’s purported infidelity.

Brigham said he walked into the bathroom that night and saw Mason. The run-in quickly turned into a heated conversation and resulted in a fight that left Brigham with several broken bones in his face.

The prosecution and defense have disagreed over who instigated the fight. Brigham said he never touched Mason, though witnesses testified they saw the men grappling.

The prosecution has pointed to evidence that Mason told police he hit Brigham in the face and then with his elbow three times while Brigham was on the ground.