Minors pitcher indicted in fan injury in Ohio

By James Hannah

DAYTON, Ohio – A minor league pitcher accused of throwing a ball that hit a fan in the forehead was indicted Wednesday on two counts of felonious assault.

Julio Castillo, 21, who was pitching for the Peoria Chiefs of the Midwest League, is accused of throwing into the stands during a July 24 game at Dayton that featured a 10-minute, benches-clearing brawl. The fan was treated for a concussion at a hospital and released.

A Montgomery County grand jury indicted Castillo on one count of felonious assault with a deadly weapon and one count of felonious assault causing serious physical harm.

Castillo was attempting to hit a Dayton player in the dugout, but instead struck the fan in the head, according to the Montgomery County prosecutor’s office.

Prosecutor Mathias Heck Jr. said Castillo threw the baseball to purposely hurt someone, putting spectators that included children in danger.

“There is no excuse for this type of behavior, whether it’s in a ball park or a back alley,” Heck said. “Fans should not be subjected to violence because a player is unable to control his temper.”

Defense attorney Dennis Lieberman said Castillo, who is from the Dominican Republic, will plead not guilty.

Lieberman said the charges aren’t justified by the circumstances and his client has a good defense.

“In my research, I have found this to be an unprecedented indictment in American baseball,” Lieberman said. “These are very serious charges that could destroy this kid’s chance of ever playing baseball in the United States again.”

If convicted on both counts, Castillo could face up to 16 years in prison. He is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 13.

The Chiefs are an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, and Castillo remains in the Cubs’ organization.