Andres Rodriguez, 21 of Citrus Heights, pleaded no contest in a Superior Court this morning for the felony assault on 22-year-old Tyler Burton, a former Shasta College football player who remains in a rehab facility as a result of brain damage he suffered in the October 28, 2012 attack.
According to the Butte County District Attorney’s press release, Rodrigues was arrested by Chico Police last October after an early morning altercation between two groups enjoying the Chico Halloween festivities near W. 8th and Cherry Streets. Upon arrival, police found Burton lying unconscious on the ground. An investigation by the department revealed a verbal dispute arose between the two groups as they passed each other. It was then Rodriguez reportedly stepped up and delivered a “sucker punch” to Burton’s head. Burton suffered two skull fractures and brain damage which left him in a coma for five weeks.
District Attorney Mike Ramsey stated Rodriguez faces up to four years in state prison when he’s sentenced on August 20. He has been in the Butte County Jail since his initial arrest. Ramsey also said his office will seek the maximum term including restitution for Burton’s past and future medical expenses.
“We need to send a message that such stupid, tragic violence will not be tolerated,” Ramsey said. “All too often we see late night fights on the streets of downtown Chico turn quickly and frighteningly into severe and permanent injury. From all reports, Burton was a bright, friendly young man who in no way contributed to his own injury, but had the misfortune of running across another young man spoiling for a fight.”
Ramsey said Burton was at the time of the attack a “standout for the Shasta College football team, but his life has been unalterably changed since that night”. Ramsey indicated Burton is paralyzed on his left side, uses a cane to walk, and has severe short term memory loss. Burton remains in a rehabilitation facility out of the area and will likely need continuing care for the rest of his life.