Hung jury in firefighter assault trial

September 28, 2012

John Ryan Mason

After three days of deliberation, a San Luis Obispo County jury was unable to arrive at a unanimous agreement on whether or not a firefighter is guilty of felony assault and the judge declared a mistrial.

Eight jurors believed John Ryan Mason was innocent while four felt he was guilty of violently assaulting Jory Brigham in 2011 in a bathroom at Pappy McGregor’s. Brigham suffered 17 facial fractures while Mason was uninjured during the encounter.

Following the Thursday verdict, the well-dressed San Luis Obispo firefighter and his family members hurried from the courthouse without talking to reporters. Members of the jury said they had come to an agreement not to share information about deliberations with the press.

Mason’s attorney Chris Casciola pointed at several discrepancies between Brigham’s testimony and other witnesses as the primary reason the majority of the jurors were unable to come to a guilty verdict. While friends of Brigham said he had a flask of alcohol in his pocket, Brigham testified he did not.

“He (Brigham) lied time and time again,” Casciola said. “When asked if he had an attorney, if he touched him, if he had a flask. You start digging a hole and after a while you can’t get out of it.”

Deputy District Attorney Kristy Imel declined to comment on the trial or about possible plans to proceed again with prosecution.

Both sides are slated to return to San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Michael Duffy’s courtroom on Oct. 18 to discuss a deal or whether the charges will be dropped.



In the Trib article, the District Attorney, Jerret Gran was said that he, “didn’t know enough about the prosecution’s case to comment on its weaknesses.” I am outraged and stunned by this comment. Mr. Gran, an elected official, is the head prosecutor in this county! This was such a high profile case and he doesn’t know enough about it to comment on it!?!? That is a huge failing by the DA’s office! Clearly, Deputy DA Imel didn’t have the support/resources/help that she may have needed. Why wasn’t Gran more involved?


I stand corrected. Just went to the DA website. Our elected DA is Gerald Shea. Jerret Gran is his Chief Deputy (second in command). Still, assuming he is Imel’s supervisor, shouldn’t he be well-versed in the case?


High school games as adults, bad news. Neither side is vindicated for their part no matter what. This incident should have never happened. It’s all drama that turned violent because someone has a big mouth and the court-yard bully has to keep his honor. Really people? Grow up!


Slojo, do you ever go drinking with the Masons? How far do you have to stay back from him aqfter he has a few? Your joy is singular, and unjust. Beware the day he goes off again… Zebras die with all their original stripes!


Ryan is not dangerous or violent and I would trust my kids lives with him. He is a good person and no matter what all of you crazy people on here say, it is what it is.


Slojo your kids would be fine, it’s your wife you better keep away from him.


“Eight jurors believed John Ryan Mason was innocent ….” Um, the usual verdict is either “guilty” or “not guilty”; very rarely do you see a court of law declaring a defendant “innocent”.

It does not matter who started a fight; it doesn’t matter if one or both parties are drunk; it doesn’t matter who “won”; it does matter that one of the two ended up on the floor, in a pool of his own blood, knocked out cold, needing EMTs to revive him, transport him to an ER and that he had to have extensive surgery to repair the damage inflicted on him.

Ryan Mason not only ran away from the scene, not only almost got into a fight with the cab driver that came to pick him and his wife up, but also “hid” for five days before he was arrested; do those sound like the actions of an “innocent” man?


This is exactly why street justice remains the only real justice this country has! Especially in SLO County.


Why would he not get his job back? A jury of his peers found him not guilty. Eight to four is indicates to me the prosecution had a lousy case. Unlike the lynch mob found on this website, facts do matter. I guess you will just have to deal with it.

eradicate ignorance

Guilty people get off all the time. It is an unfortunate by-product of our judicial system. Chalk this one up to good lawyering not facts.

CA Native

No, a hung jury means they were unable to reach a verdict. It is not a ‘not guilty’ verdict. The DA can decide to prosecute the case all over again.


It means 8 out of the 12 jurors think he is NOT GUILTY.


So, he is only one-third guilty?

eradicate ignorance

Maybe he is only responsible for one-third of the facial fractures suffered by Jory.


I think it means he is only one-third human.


NO, it does not mean that “8 out of the 12 jurors think he is NOT GUILTY.”

It means that the group of 8 out of 12 jurors included members that either did not believe the evidence reached “beyond a shadow of a doubt” or believed he was “not guilty.”


What is the diff? Same outcome?


There’s a different standards for criminal v civil and since he’s in a position of high profile and community standards it’s quite reasonable for Mason to be terminated.

Mason is a liability for SLO and I doubt they’ll maintain any kind of employment for him…so he can go to some town that hasn’t heard of him.


Just remember a jury found OJ not guilty.


And Casey Anthony, too.

Spirit Filled

OJ wasn’t guilty.

Mr. Holly

Take a break. I think the fire alarm just went off and you have to go to “work”.


Those 8 juror’s got it right! So happy for you Mason family!!!!

eradicate ignorance

Unfortunately not a surprise. Now we just have to wait to see if he is reinstated at the Fire Dept. My guess is he will be back to work soon.


“Give ’em the old Razzle Dazzle”

Violent, and out of control? No problem, assail the victim, and we’ll get you off the hook 9 times out of 10.

Lawyers, what did the Bard say to do with them???