Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Charges dropped against two accused of beating chef

KEY LARGO -- Prosecutors have dropped criminal charges against two local men accused of beating a 23-year-old chef last July. Charges remain for a third suspect.

Lawrence Bril, 21, Chad Lyons, 19, and Jerrel Barnes, 18, were all arrested by Monroe County Sheriff's deputies for felony aggravated battery after they allegedly beat Elvez Sosa July 5, 2012, outside the now-closed Coconut's nightclub.

Earlier this month, prosecutors dropped charges against Lyons and Barnes.

"We believe there is a reasonable doubt," Monroe County Assistant State Attorney Demetrios Efstratiou said of the case against Lyons and Barnes. Once arrested, neither of the two gave statements to police.

The prosecutor declined to elaborate why the charges were dismissed.

Efstratiou would not say whether a plea deal was on the table and added that his office is in contact with Sosa as to any recommendations he may have.

When the crime occurred, Sosa was working as a chef at the former Calypso's Seafood Grill. Sosa sustained injuries that sent him to a Miami hospital and caused him to undergo multiple surgeries. The incident generated local support for the father of three young children, including a benefit concert to help him with medical bills.

Deputies did not initially arrest Bril, who claimed he was attacked by Sosa. Bril also told deputies that Lyons and Barnes assaulted Sosa, according to the incident report.

Last week, prosecutors added Lyon's father, Michael, to their witness list, after he came forward with allegations that Bril bragged about his involvement in the crime while in jail. Michael Lyons was in jail at the time for an unrelated charge.

A pre-trial status hearing for Bril is set for 10 a.m. Sept. 3. Bril is represented by attorney Jim Hack of Plantation Key.

jgore@keysnews.com

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