Beating inquiry under way

A visitor says he was assaulted outside an MU fraternity.
Friday, October 21, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 2:09 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Maryland man visiting a friend at MU for Homecoming weekend said he was assaulted early Saturday by a group of men who came out of the Kappa Alpha fraternity house.

Daniel Maddox, 20, said he was walking past the house at 1301 University Ave. around 3 a.m. Saturday when six men surrounded him, first taunting then attacking him.

“When they jumped me, all I smelled was liquor,” he said.

Kappa Alpha president Chip Wagner said the fraternity was looking into the allegations. “We’re working with (the Department of) Student Life and conducting our own investigation,” Wagner said.

Maddox said he tried to protect his face during the beating and eventually managed to get away and run next door to a friend’s house, where a passerby stopped to ask if he was all right. Then, he said, he was attacked again.

“One of the (men) came from behind, grabbed me by my head and pushed me down,” Maddox said. “He repeatedly slammed my face into the ground.”

Maddox said he was knocked unconscious by the blows. The woman to whom he was speaking when the second attack began reported that the attacker ran inside the Kappa Alpha house.

Maddox went to the University Hospital emergency room three times during the next three days. He said he suffered severe cuts on his leg and arm, permanent scarring on the left side of his face, damage to his left eye and a severe concussion. He said he started vomiting blood and had to return to the emergency room, where a tube was put in his stomach to pump out the blood.

He reported the incident to the Columbia Police Department on Sunday afternoon. He said he told police he wanted to press charges but the police misunderstood him.

The Police Department disagrees.

“He said he didn’t want to press charges initially,” Columbia police Officer Bryan Leibhart said. “Then he decided he wanted to press charges.”

Columbia Police Capt. Zim Schwartze said the severity of Maddox’s injuries led to him to change his mind.

Leibhart said the incident was being investigated.

“We’re thinking it was the guys from the fraternity based on what the victim said,” he said. He would not say whether arrests were expected soon.

Schwartze said the MU Department of Student Life would receive the department’s initial report on the assault today.

MU Student Life Director Mark Lucas said his office would investigate the allegations when it has the report in hand.

Lucas also said he spoke with Wagner on Thursday morning. He said sanctions by the department against students who are convicted of assault can range from a warning to a suspension, depending on the severity of the case.

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