Trial opens for five men accused of beating Santa Rosa father

Amador Pacheco was being so badly beaten by a group of men who attacked him at Santa Rosa's Youth Community Park that his 14-year-old daughter stepped in to try to protect him, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

As Pacheco, 40, slumped to the ground under a withering barrage of kicks and punches, the girl went to the ground too, covering his head with her own body, absorbing blows herself, Deputy District Attorney Jason Riehl said.

"Because she thought he was going to die," Riehl said.

But Pacheco survived. The prosecutor said the beating ended when another Pacheco family member yelled out that she was calling 911. Police arrived to find people running away in different directions and Pacheco lying on his back, slipping in and out of consciousness and covered in blood, officers said.

Doctors at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital treated him for a broken nose along with welts and abrasions covering his head and body.

His story emerged in the opening day of trial for five men accused of taking part in the June 2012 assault at a low-rider show.

Police initially charged 11 suspects with Pacheco's beating but resolved six of the cases with jail sentences or dismissals.

The remaining defendants have pleaded not guilty and are going to trial. They are Anthony Cervantes, 25, Robert Sandoval, 36, and Juan Tovar, 20, all of Santa Rosa; Robert Flett, 27, of Rohnert Park and Carl Hastie, 27, of Marin County.

In addition to assault charges, prosecutors allege all but Sandoval acted for the benefit of or in association with a criminal gang.

The trial is expected to run for four weeks.

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