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Friday, June 14, 2024 | Back issues
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Man Blames County|for Courtroom Attack

FAIRFIELD, Calif. (CN) - A man who testified against his brother in a murder trial blames sheriff's deputies for letting his brother attack him as he stepped down from the witness stand.

David Bango sued Solano County and its Sheriff's Department, in Solano County Court.

In his bare-bones complaint, Bango says he was "a key witness against his brother in his brother's murder case."

As he stepped down from the witness stand after testifying, Bango says, his brother, who was not restrained in any way, attacked him, "knocking him down and causing permanent injuries ... including permanent scar tissue on his face, post-traumatic stress disorder, loss of sleep at night with recurring nightmares and sustaining 6 or 7 stitches in his face as a result of being struck in the face by his brother."

The Fairfield Daily Republic newspaper reported that Bango's brother, Wilberto Belardo, was sentenced in August 2011 to life in prison without possibility of parole.

He was accused of robbing and shooting to death a rival drug dealer, Joseph Zarate, in 1998 in the small town of Dixon, the newspaper reported.

"For more than a decade, Belardo may have believed he got away with murder," the Daily Republic reported in its Aug. 18, 2011 article on the sentencing.

Belardo was arrested in 2009 after investigators working for the Solano County District Attorney reopened the cold case.

The Republic reported that Belardo "had a longstanding falling out with his brother."

"At Belardo's trial earlier this year, his brother testified that Belardo, [who] was 20 in 1998, had tried to convince him to take the rap for killing Zarate. The brother was 15 at the time," the Republic reported.

It did not explain why the brothers have different last names.

In a May 5, 2011 report on the trial, the Republic reported that "Belardo shouted out that his brother was lying," and landed a "loud, powerful blow to the face," before a bailiff subdued Belardo, while Bango bled profusely from the nose.

Bango says his injuries were caused by the county's negligence.

He is represented by Mitchell Stevens of Concord.

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