Victims testify at court hearing for man charged in November assault at ODU Rugby party

Posted at 3:52 PM, Feb 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-04 19:31:03-05

Norfolk, Va. - A 19-year-old man arrested for his involvement in the November 2nd assault that injured three ODU Rugby players appeared in court on Wednesday.

All three victims were present in court and testified.

Chris D. Slade was arrested November 18th and charged with three counts of Aggravated Malicious Wounding with result in severe injury or permanent damage. In court on Wednesday, all of those charges were certified to the Grand Jury.

Two of those charges were certified as is. The third count was modified to just Malicious Wounding, a lesser charge, because the third victim's injuries were not as severe.

The fight occurred outside of a home on Melrose Street where several members of the Rugby Club had gathered to celebrate Halloween.

ODU rugby team coach Mike Herron told NewsChannel 3 that a group of people who were not a part of ODU or ODU students, tried to get into the party. When they were denied entry, one of the suspects picked up a chair and threw it at the window, shattering it.

The players players went outside to see what happened, and that’s when they were allegedly attacked.

ODU rugby captain Michael Rigual was beaten up so badly his jaw was broken. He had blood in his lungs and five teeth were either knocked out or removed. Club president Robert Sokol needed surgery on a facial fracture. River Piercy was treated and released.

In court, only one of the four witnesses could point to Slade saying he was there that night. The witness reportedly saw Slade twice, as part of the group that tried to force their way in the party, and part of the group who beat up the victims.

Shots were fired as the fight was happening, but no one was able to identify Slade as firing the shots or beating anyone up. However, the judge felt that there was enough probable cause because he was part of the group.

As for the victims, they're still recovering from their injuries.

Michael Rigual

Michael Rigual has little memory from that evening. He spent about three weeks in the hospital following the attack. Now, he says things are getting better.

"I was angry. It was frustrating having to relearn how to walk, doing hours of therapy every day. It's frustrating," he says. "I don't have complete motion in my jaw right now. They still have to do teeth implants and all that, and I still get confused. But other than that, it's all good."

He was not able to return to school this semester due to the recovery process. He has decided not to return to ODU and to transfer to George Mason University instead.

"I don't feel safe there. Yeah, I just don't feel safe," he says. "I'm working right now. I got cleared to work and in the fall I'll try to go back to school."


UPDATE: ODU Rugby players injured in fight near campus; man says son is improving

Father of ODU Rugby player brutally attacked: “We figured he was safe, I guess I was wrong”