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News Maryland Baltimore Crime Beat

Man pleads guilty in attack on fan at O's game

Michael David Bell, one of two men accused in an attack at Camden Yards that left a baseball spectator with a fractured skull, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault Wednesday, the Baltimore state's attorney's office said.

A judge gave Bell a suspended prison term and put him on three years' probation, according to the prosecutor's office.

Police said Bell, 23, and Gregory Fleishman, 23, taunted Matthew Fortese throughout a Nationals game at Camden Yards last year. One of the two men threw a beer at Fortese and his date, and when Fortese tried to reach up over a wall to confront them, Fleishman punched him in the head, according to police.

In a lawsuit against Bell and Fleishman, Fortese alleged that the two men spat on him and danced to "YMCA" as he lay bleeding below their seats. Fortese, of Hagerstown, was 25 at the time of the incident.

Nathan Steelman, an off-duty state trooper and childhood friend with whom Fortese had lost touch, happened to be at the game and rushed to Fortese's aid when he realized what was going on.

Steelman said he found Fortese unconscious and bleeding from his nose. In addition to a fractured skull, Fortese suffered brain trauma and was left with "permanent serious and debilitating injuries," according to his lawsuit.

Neither Bell nor Fleishman's attorney could be reached, and a lawyer representing Fortese declined to comment.

Fleishman's attorney previously questioned who was the aggressor in the incident, pointing out that police said Fortese had tried to scale the wall before he fell.

Fleishman, who faces a more serious first-degree assault charge, has pleaded not guilty. His case was postponed until the end of November.

Bell is scheduled to be back in court in December to arrange for restitution.

iduncan@baltsun.com

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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