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Three arrested in beating over false molestation allegations (Man Beaten Into Coma)

9-21-2006 Montana:

.GREAT FALLS - Three people have been arrested and a fourth is being sought for severely beating a man and rendering him comatose in the mistaken belief that he had molested a child. Police said the allegations are false and the victim, Ralph Landry, 58, remains in a coma. Doctors say if he ever regains consciousness, they doubt he would be able to live independently because he has severe brain damage from the Sept. 3 attack. David Awbery, 18, was arrested Tuesday morning at a relative's home in Billings, about the same time co-defendants Victor Snorsky, 18, and Jesse Valentine, 16, appeared in District Court in Great Falls.

Each teenager faces charges of attempted murder and aggravated burglary. Authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Dominic Rose, 17, of Libby. Rose, also known as Trey-Trey, is wanted on an escape charge for walking away from the Youth Transition Center in Great Falls shortly before the attack, as well as for questioning in the attack. "It's not just another beating or assault," said Police Detective Bruce McDermott. "This could be a homicide." The attack occurred as the result of what police consider to be misconstrued bar gossip, McDermott said.

A 38-year-old man reportedly assured a woman that he would take care of the man who was alleged to have molested her daughter. That man turned to the four teenagers, police said. The four suspects are alleged to have knocked on Landry's front door and when he answered, the group repeatedly punched, kicked and stomped on him, police said. Landry's cell phone and wallet were stolen. "They thought they were doing some street justice," McDermott said. District Judge Kenneth Neil set Snorsky's bail at $250,000 and Valentine's bail at $100,000. ..more.. : by The Associated Press

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