Evidence indicates that the Pleasanton man found injured and unconscious outside his home on Middleton Place last September was the aggressor in the altercation, according to Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley.
O'Malley, in an interview with the Pleasanton Weekly, discussed the circumstances around the injuries sustained by David Lamont and why her office opted not to prosecute the teens at the scene.
"If the case is not legally provable, then it would be improper for the prosecutor to file charges," O'Malley said.
Lamont was struck outside his home early Sept. 21 after confronting teens about making noise in the quiet cul-de-sac where he lived. He was found lying in the street, bleeding and comatose, when he didn't return inside following the altercation. Police said four teens were cooperating during the investigation, and that they had identified one, an 18-year old from outside the area, as a "person of interest."
On Feb. 7, police announced that the case had been closed and no charges would be filed. The DA said her office worked closely with Pleasanton police before deciding not to pursue a criminal charge.
"The evidence shows that Mr. Lamont confronted the young men who were across the street or in the area of his house. The evidence also shows that Mr Lamont headbutted or hit the young man in the face, and the injuries that the young man received are consistent with that," O'Malley said. "And the evidence also tells us that in response to being hit, the young man hit Mr. Lamont back in the face and he fell down. The medical findings are consistent with Mr. Lamont hitting his head on the ground."
Lamont's wife, Agnes, told the Pleasanton Weekly that she disagreed with the conclusions made by the DA's Office.
"We have never been contacted by the DA's office," Agnes Lamont said. "However, given what I heard that night, I cannot give credence to claims of self-defense made several days after the incident by the four young people who drove off leaving David critically injured and unconscious."
O'Malley said under California's "stand your ground" law, a person who is attacked is permitted to use similar force in response.
"In California, the law does not require a person to retreat from an attack," she said. "That person who's attacked has the right to, as they call it, stand his ground or her ground and defend himself or herself."
She said only one person at the scene Sept. 21 was involved in the altercation with Lamont, and evidence showed that person acted to protect himself.
"It was clear to us and I believe it was also clear to the police, because of this law of self-defense, and (that) there's no evidence we have to overcome that law of self-defense in this particular case," O'Malley said.
Agnes Lamont said her husband is the only other person who could provide details of the event, but that's unlikely to ever occur.
"After emerging from a long coma, several surgeries and intensive rehabilitation, David had no memory of what occurred so cannot describe the events himself," she said. "We know he went out alone and unarmed after midnight and did not come back. He was the person who was hurt, and I was the one who called emergency services."
O'Malley also responded to residents who wanted to see a case against the teens move forward.
"We have to look with an independent eye and we have to look at what the law says. People don't know what happened. They don't know what the actual facts are," she said.
O'Malley also noted that her office is barred from considering public pressure in filing charges.
"(A) prosecutor has to have a reasonable belief that the case can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, and that standard, of 'beyond a reasonable doubt' is what we have to prove to find someone guilty of a crime."
Agnes Lamont gave thanks to the medical teams at Eden Medical Center and Kaiser and repeated her thanks to the community for its support during her husband's recovery.
"Knowing we are surrounded by such good people has given us hope and determination to embrace what is positive and be thankful for the miraculous recovery David is now working towards," she said. "I would appeal to all parents to know where your children are, with whom, and what they are doing."
A transcript of the Pleasanton Weekly interview with O'Malley can be found here.