Mother makes impassioned plea for justice in son’s death

By From page A4 | May 02, 2014

Anthony Ruiz

Anthony Ruiz

FAIRFIELD — A woman whose son died in a Fourth of July fight in Vacaville made an impassioned plea Thursday for justice at the sentencing of her son’s killer.

“I did not want vengeance. I only wanted justice,” a crying Kathleen Pierce said. “Justice is not being served in this case.”

Pierce reminded Judge Wendy G. Getty that her son, Tyler Grande, had been blindsided with one punch as he was trying to break up a fight that erupted during a July 4, 2012, street party.

Grande, 20, dropped to the street, hitting his head and losing consciousness. He never regained consciousness and died July 15.

Anthony J. Ruiz, 32, was arrested a month after the attack and charged with voluntary manslaughter. He faced a possible 11 years in prison. On the day his jury trial was set to start in March, Ruiz took a plea deal from the District Attorney’s Office, which will result in Ruiz spending less than a year in county jail.

“This is a joke,” Pierce said. “It was the actions of one person that did this.”

“Why would you hide for 30 days if you were innocent? He did not want to face the consequences of his actions. He knows he did it. He made a horrible decision that created a tragic event.”

Pierce expressed outrage that many people who saw her son dropped by Ruiz’s punch refused to come forward and talk with police.

“It sickens me people stand by and do nothing and are afraid of being labeled a snitch,” she said.

Ruiz had nothing to say at the hearing, which ended with Getty sentencing him to two years in jail for involuntary manslaughter, the minimum sentence. With credits for good behavior and for time served, Ruiz will be back out on the street in about 10 months.

Ruiz’s attorney told Getty her client believed he was acting in self-defense and faulted a probation officer who recently talked with Ruiz, who denied responsibility for his actions. The attorney also reminded Getty that Grande’s best friend, who saw the attacker, described him as looking very different from her client.

The prosecutor said he hoped the experience had helped Ruiz recognize he has a problem with alcohol. Getty agreed, saying the first thing Ruiz had done after killing Grande was go to a bar, that he was at a bar when he was arrested and that he picked up his second driving under the influence arrest while out on bail on the manslaughter case.

Getty told the despondent mother that she is always sad when someone feels that the justice system has failed them, adding that the justice system is not perfect.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.

Discussion | 12 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Please read our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy before commenting.

  • discouragedMay 01, 2014 - 10:22 pm

    Our court system is ridiculous! My thoughts and prayers to the victim's family. Let his killer face karma inside prison. Our great DA doing what he does best.. NOTHING! !

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksMay 02, 2014 - 7:06 am

    What a man. This "Sunday-punch" crap is really popular these days. After all, why risk actually having to fight and prove you're really not all that much a man after all? L*ser.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • nadineMay 02, 2014 - 12:00 pm

    This judge gives a man 2 yrs with credit for time served and the victims mother will never see her son again. Wow! Now this same judge reduces a fine for someone involved in a murder as well. How can the citizens rely on the justice system with this going on.... Sad!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • clancyMay 02, 2014 - 12:35 pm

    This judge needs to go and all like her and whoever is appointing them.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CatchtherealkillerMay 02, 2014 - 1:35 pm

    Dont judge. People didnt come forward and he didnt do it. So get over it. It was a 6ft 2 white male.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • YouPeopleAreBlindMay 02, 2014 - 1:46 pm

    First off the description was a white slender male 6ft.... This man "conviction" is Mexican last name ruiz, and chunky? Why do you think he got such a great deal? Because he is innocent and taken the fall for someone else instead of "snitching" Justice was not served for the victim or family! It's all politics! The judge and lawyers just want to close the case and shut the family of the victim up weather they get the REAl Killer or not they don't care it's just another case!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Catch the REAL killerMay 02, 2014 - 7:30 pm

    And I will be here to rebuttal it. The drunk person who was tylers best friend saw the 6ft 2 male hit him. And he did admit to hitting "someone" he was the only one honest enough to say he was there and he hit "someone" the DA gave him that deal and the family went with it. The DA didnt do their job correctly and people are saying justice wasnt served. Everyone is a Saint whey they are gone.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • openyoureyesMay 02, 2014 - 9:48 pm

    Can u say defamation of character, indangering the lives of innocent men woman and children. Very Slanderous of you.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Vaca ResidentMay 04, 2014 - 10:10 am

    Catch-you are wrong. 6 foot slender guy is a description of who punched the friend. This friend was intoxicated and was being assaulted when Tyler was sucker punched.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • RalphMay 02, 2014 - 5:55 pm

    public? scavengers would love to see that.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Kathy PierceMay 03, 2014 - 2:02 pm

    I will not get into a war of words, I understand that people will believe what they will. But I do know there is a higher power and you can't hide from the truth. One person wasn't singled out for no reason. And if you want to discuss defamation you should use your true name because I'm not afraid to use mine.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • NORTHSTAR707August 12, 2014 - 10:34 am

    first off y'all need to know the whole story before you start talking about somebody! Yes it's tragic that somebody died, but it's also tragic that a real good friend of mine had to go through this HORRIBLE TIME as well! Anthony is a wonderful man, a wonderful friend, a wonderful son, and a wonderful father! Miss you Anthony! Xoxo

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Special Publications »

    Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service (updated 4/30/2015) and Privacy Policy (updated 4/7/2015).
    Copyright (c) 2016 McNaughton Newspapers, Inc., a family-owned local media company that proudly publishes the Daily Republic, Mountain Democrat, Davis Enterprise, Village Life and other community-driven publications.