Trial date set in skirmish between hockey players
A man accused of punching the program coordinator at South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena in the face three hours after a hockey game has denied the charge and the case may go to trial.
Mark Pardo, 44, of South Lake Tahoe appeared in El Dorado County Superior Court on Friday for a pretrial hearing on the misdemeanor battery charge.
Pardo, who works in the construction industry, is accused of hitting Chris Perry while he sat in his office.
Pardo’s attorney said his client was not involved in such an incident.
“Sometimes tempers get out of hand on the ice — that’s where they should remain,” said Scott Freeman, a Reno attorney. “Hockey is a violent sport. Mr. Perry claims certain things happened afterward off the ice. Mr. Pardo maintains his innocence.”
The two men competed in a league hockey game at the arena in June. During the game, Perry and Pardo got in a tussle on the ice. Pardo was ejected; Perry got a 4-minute penalty.
“Mr. Pardo punched me in the face in my office,” Perry, 29, said. “Everything in the police report that I told the detectives is 100 percent true.”
Freeman said if the case goes to trial, information will come out that Perry has a history of fighting.
“This isn’t the first time Mr. Perry has been involved in an altercation,” Freeman said. “We believe he has a tremendous temper. We’ll do some investigating for it. If it has to go to trial, we’ll put it all out there.”
Perry refused to respond to Freeman’s comments about his history. He spoke about hockey.
“Nothing stems from anything,” Perry said. “When an individual commits assault on anyone it doesn’t have to do with anything else.
“All sports have altercations. Some people can differentiate between sports and the real world. In the real world, we have laws we have to obey. In my opinion, he broke the law of the land.”
Since the incident, Perry says he has elected not to play in the league he oversees. Ice arena General Manager Gary Moore has agreed Perry’s choice is “in the best interest” of the department Perry supervises.
Hans Uthe, assistant district attorney, worked to come to a plea agreement with Freeman and Judge Jerald Lasarow. After the meeting, both parties indicated they were close to settling the case but negotiations fell apart.
“He disputes anything happened off the ice,” Uthe said. “He says words were exchanged — nothing more. That’s why we have trials.”
Uthe said his office plans to investigate the matter further.
“As this progresses, maybe we’ll talk some as things settle,” Freeman said. “But let’s set a trial date.”
The trial is set for March 20 at 1:30 p.m.
— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at email@example.com
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