Prosecutor dumped after declining firefighter assault case

April 4, 2012

Ryan Mason


The San Luis Obispo County prosecutor who decided not to prosecute firefighter Ryan Mason who is accused of savagely beating a man in June has been removed from the case.

Deputy District Attorney Karen Gray told the victim, Jory Brigham, that she didn’t think she could win the case, referring to the victim’s appearance as renegade and Mason’s as upstanding.

Gray was replaced a few weeks ago by  Deputy District Attorney Kristy Imel, a decision made after CalCoastNews questioned Gray’s decision to drop the case.

Gray told Brighham she didn’t think she could win the case.

“Karen Gray said ‘I don’t take anything I don’t think I can win,’” Brigham’s attorney  Mike Pick said. “She said it was just another bar fight. She didn’t even know (Jory) had been injured.”

In June, Mason followed Brigham into a bathroom at Pappy McGregor’s and allegedly beat him until he was unconscious because of an eight-month rift stemming from claims Brigham dissed the firefighter for having an affair with a policeman’s wife in a Facebook post.

“It is blowing my mind recently how lightly marriage is taken, and how it is almost socially acceptable to walk out on your family,” Brigham said on his Facebook page on January 27.

Doctors wired Brigham’s jaw shut and placed four metal plates into his face. He currently faces additional surgeries and has facial numbness that likely is permanent.

Gray elected not to pursue the case even though several members of local law enforcement said the case is a “slam dunk,” and San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Michael Duffy ruled in September that sufficient evidence existed to justify a trial.

Multiple witnesses to Mason’s alleged violent past either are afraid or reticent to testify against the firefighter, according to Brigham’s attorney, Mike Pick.

“She (Gray) can just subpoena people to talk,” Pick said.

CalCoastNews reporters spoke to almost a dozen witnesses who say they have watched Mason snap or lose his composure. Most wanted their names withheld either because of friendships with members of Mason’s family or fear of retaliation.

Mason’s history of alleged violent acts goes back to days at San Luis Obispo High School where he was suspended for an unusually violent high school fist fight were he bashed his opponent’s head into a metal locker.

Following the June incident at Pappy McGregor’s, police interviewed Travis Mello, who was involved in a previous altercation with Mason at Mo Tav in April over an affair Mason was having with the wife of Mello’s cousin.

According to the police report, Mason approached Mello, who was attending a birthday celebration, and asked him to discuss the affair with him. Mello said he had nothing to say to Mason and asked him to leave him alone.

Mason refused and after several attempts to get Mello to talk, Mason challenged Mello to a fight. Mello said he did not want to fight and reminded Mason that he was a firefighter and his behavior was unacceptable, the report says.

Mello told police Mason got in his face, and he shoved Mason away. Mello said they began shoving each other though no punches were traded. Bouncers interceded, ejecting both men from the bar, the police report says.

When asked by officers about the fight at the wedding, Mello asked what wedding the officer was referring to. Mello then went on to tell the officers of a 1997 Los Osos wedding where Mello claimed Mason hit another man over the head with a champagne glass.

According to several eyewitnesses, however, Mason grabbed a full bottle of champagne and bashed Al Beavers, the owner of Al’s Septic Pumping Service, on the head because he thought he was ogling his date at the wedding.

Though San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s deputies responded, Mason was never arrested for the alleged assault.

In Feb. 2011, Mason was playing poker with several neighbors when one joked to Mason that firefighters spend their days bringing cats down from trees. Sources say Mason became angry and attempted to crawl across the table at the card player. It allegedly took three men to restrain Mason, who has since been barred from the game.

Following Gray’s announcement that she planned to drop the case, several friends of Brigham’s including Jeremy Limpic, a local web designer, began organizing a signature gathering campaign to help pressure the District Attorney’s office into prosecuting Mason.

“With a case as extreme as this you think justice would take it course,” Limpic said. “We just want justice.”

The trial is currently set to begin on April 23.


To Paul’s comment:

Attempted murder is not based on “what could have happened”. It’s a “specific intention to cause death”. To imply this case had anything to do with “attempted murder” is out of control.



As the world turns

Do other prosecuting attorneys get to pick and choose their cases?


Look what I ran across:

It’s a petition to continue the prosecution of John Ryan Mason.


Dear Mr. Shea and Ms. Gray,

We, the undersigned, as concerned citizens and residents of the County of San Luis Obispo, State of California, formally request that the County of San Luis Obispo District Attorney continue the prosecution against Defendant John Ryan Mason, in the matter of The People v. John Ryan Mason, San Luis Obispo County Superior Court, Case #F461062

This request is based on our understanding of the allegations against Mr. Mason and the importance of holding individuals accountable for their actions in this community.


The Undersigned Concerned Citizens



Where did you find that? What is the date and how many people signed it?


Sorry, I hadn’t noticed the link. Mason and Brigham sure are telling different stories in those police reports. There is no mention of the cab driver who refused Mason service, I think that testimony could be very telling about Mason’s state of mind. He makes it sound as if he was so easy going and forced to beat up Jory Brigham, hitting him 3 more times even after he was on the ground as if that makes any sense.

dangerous county

This could have easily turned into a fatal attack. God Bless you Jory. We will be there with our full support!!


You know what is interesting?

In September 2011, Karen Gray said the following

We’ve got the defendant telling (an officer) that he continued to strike the victim after he was down on the ground.” (

Also, the same article said that the prosecution had presented several witnesses, and the defense had only presented one witness.

I dunno–doesn’t that seem like that would make the prosecution have a pretty danged good case?

So why is Karen Gray now indicating it was just another bar fight, and she didn’t even know Brigham had been injured? She said in September 2011 that Ryan Mason told a police officer that he (Mason) continued to strike Brigham when he was already on the ground.

Don’t people usually get “injured” when they are struck with such force that they are knocked to the ground, especially when the attacker continues to strike the victim when the victim is on the ground?

I think Karen Gray is lying, and I’d like to know why. I’d also like to know why, in September 2011, the case looked so good, and now, in April 2012, it looks so bad Gray is refusing to be the prosecutor.


Mason will be ACQUITTED of ail charges because:

Mason’s PAST issues of violent behavior will not be admissable; only the actions involved in this issue

There were NO immediate eyewitnesses to the actual fight

Brigham will be painted as the instigator and the MUTUAL combat theory wil prevail

There was no EVIDENCE of any kind collected by the SLOPD regarding MASON at the scene

Mason has Casciola for an attorney… he’s GOOD…real GOOD

The District Attorney has already signaled they don’t have their heart in it as evidenced by DDA Gray stepping aside

Alternate DDA Kristy Imel is being ‘thrown to the wolves’ by the DA’s office to placate ‘swamp gas breathers”

Mason is an UPSTANDING fireman (according to DDA GRAY)

The District Attorney is GOVERNMENT run and the SLOFD is GOVERNMENT run

Also the District Attorney could give a damn what the citizens of this county want and/or deserve

And Dave Congalton SAYS SO!

I don’t like it either… but that’s just how it’s done in ‘happy and pretty’ SLO county.


Well, as the PD and FD learned in the last election, “payback from the people is a *itch.”


There are witnesses that went for help when the altercation started and they asked Mason to stop. There are witnesses who saw Mason (as they returned with help) kicking Brigham when he was on the floor. There is the taxi cab driver that refused Mason service because he was drunk and belligerent. Also if Brigham’s attorney can rile Mason up (not hard to do) and get him to say something like, “I’m not a violent guy”, then the door will be opened and evidence of his past assaults can be brought in to prove that he is in fact not what he claims to be.

The facebook page will also come up as that is what supposedly started the fight and the jury will hear how Mason is a cheat on his wife and he won’t look like such a great upstanding man in his uniform. No doubt he is a big enough jerk to wear it to trial, as if the jury won’t see through that.

He will be found guilty in my opinion if they subpena the witnesses who are afraid to talk on their own.


The KCOY article I referenced previously indicates that the prosecution had one witness: Ryan Maxwell.

Isn’t it odd that John Ryan Mason could only produce ONE witness?

Could this be the witness, Ryan Maxwell?

***Linked in profile photo:

***Linkedin profile:

***KCOY Video of Ryan Maxwell’s court appearance as John Ryan Mason’s one witness (September 2011 hearing): (Ryan Maxwell’s testimony begins at about 1:05)


Hummm, I guess the question is whether or not Maxwell was a bystander or if he was a friend of Mason? Casiola cracks me up, “My Client is an award winning firefighter”. Aren’t all firefighters award winners, Mr Casciola? Has anyone ever known a firefighter that didn’t have an award for something, maybe even for being brave when they took a chance that the kitty might scratch them (just teasing about the kitty).


My fear is if a kitty had scratched this brave man, Mason, he might have stomped it to death

Ted Slanders

Mary’s husband,

Mary Malone’s link kind of blows your hypotheticals right out the window! Additionally, what happened to the facts and absolute outcomes initiated between the time of the pretrial shown in the link below, and now? Only speculation can address these absolute facts.


Worst yet if it had been Mason getting his well deserved ass handed to him by Brigham, Brigham would have been locked up on day one for assault on a horse crap charge because Mason is a firefighter.


Ain’t that the truth.

Ted Slanders

Yeah, since Ryan Mason beat a man unconscious, where he had to be defenseless before he became unconscious, is a real tough guy in this instance! Wow, Ryan must have been so proud of his violent modus operandi! Why, albeit Ryan’s male anatomy grew by four inches in the aftermath! The hell with his past violent nature too, because little psycho Ryan is just being himself and no one should question his violent nature, nor arrest him when he is caught being violent towards another. Boo hoo. :(…

“Though San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s deputies responded, Mason was never arrested for the alleged assault.” WHY NOT??? Police and fire sticking together? The “good ol’ boys club?” Here they’re taking away Jory Brigham to the hospital, and there is no arrest for assault and battery?! Huh?

Look at the graph below that pertains to California penal codes for assault and battery, and tell me what I am missing pertaining to this incident by not arresting Ryan Mason, please!




equating commenter with vermin verbotten

the mice ate your vowels.

!!! or ???


Dave, I don’t know how you think attacking folks who are your listeners is benefiting you.

You’ve lost a listener.

dangerous county

OMG Dave you are pathetic, I wasn’t aware before. You are all in favor of this kind of corruption? I’m truly shocked. CCN is now the ONLY place where you can get reliable unbiased news! Thank you CCN :)


Dave, are you DRUNK or just a NUT JOB???


He is just a “Billy Bad-Ass”…

Oh, they make pills for everything and apparently he needs some.