BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A Kern County jury has found a man not guilty of two felony assault charges filed in connection with a fight at Bakersfield Speedway three years ago that left a man with serious head injuries.
The jury on Thursday acquitted Kyle Flippo of assault on a person with force likely to produce great bodily injury and battery with serious bodily injury.
Flippo’s attorney, Mark Anthony Raimondo, said Flippo was relieved following the verdict. He’s the sole breadwinner for his family and faced seven years in prison if convicted.
Flippo was protecting his mother when he punched Zachary Diamond at the race track June 9, 2018, Raimondo said.
“Before there were any manmade laws, there was a law you could defend your mom,” the attorney said.
Prosecutor Cyrus Shahbazian said it was a difficult case with a lot of evidence — the trial lasted three weeks — and the jury worked hard. While he’s disappointed with the outcome, he said he appreciates the work the jurors put in.
“We fully supported the victim’s family and the victim himself and he’s doing much better now,” Shahbazian said. “They want to put this past them.”
Flippo was arrested after a melee involving multiple people at the track following a Mod Lites feature race.
During the fight, Flippo hit Zachary Diamond, who fell backward, hit his head and lost consciousness. Diamond was taken to a hospital and was mostly unresponsive in the days after the incident, according to his family.
Raimondo said Diamond’s parents instigated the fight. Diamond rushed into the fracas and hit Flippo’s father then glared at Flippo’s mother, the attorney said.
Flippo threw one punch at Diamond, striking him on the chin.
“The damage to Mr. Diamond was not from the punch,” Raimondo said. “There was no swelling or bruising on his chin. It was the fall on the ground that hurt him.”
Raimondo said he’s sorry Diamond was injured, but sorrier his parents provoked the altercation. The blame lies with them, he said.
Diamond’s mother filed a lawsuit against Flippo, the owner of Bakersfield Speedway and others connected to the track. A hearing regarding the suit is scheduled in August.