COLUMBIA — A fight early Wednesday downtown left a man in serious condition with a head injury and swelling.
Police responding to a disturbance call found the man, Justin Flemming, severely beaten at 807 N. Eighth St. a little before 1 a.m.
Flemming couldn't speak and had trouble breathing when the police arrived, Columbia Police Department Detective Jeff Westbrook said
“He was in bad shape,” Westbrook said.
Westbrook said the man suspected of beating Flemming, James Palmer, 27, was at the scene when police arrived. Palmer initially told officers there was a fight and that Flemming punched him first, but he later changed his story.
Flemming was taken to the University Hospital and put under intensive care. He was in fair condition Thursday afternoon.
Westbrook said police don't know what prompted the fight but they learned that Palmer has a child with Flemming’s sister. She also was at the scene. Westbrook said she told police that Palmer punched Flemming first and she had to pull Palmer off her brother.
Palmer was arrested on suspicion of first-degree assault. He was being held in Boone County Jail on Thursday afternoon with bond set at $750,000.