Bay State man who assaulted FPU student says he acted in self defense

  • Franklin Pierce University emblem Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/25/2019 11:31:49 AM

A Bay State man claims he was acting in self-defense when he severely injured a Franklin Pierce University student on campus in December. 

Travis Flagg, 19, of Gardner, was charged with second-degree assault after he allegedly “sucker punched” Alejandro Lopez-Wheeler, 22, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the back of the head.

Lopez-Wheeler fell to the ground and struck his head on the ground after the punch, causing a fractured skull and other injuries according to court documents. 

Court documents filed by Flagg’s legal counsel said he was acting in self-defense during the early morning of Dec. 1, as he was “in fear of imminent bodily injury” as Lopez-Wheeler is almost a foot taller and built more athletically than Flagg.

“The complainant had at least two verbal altercations with Travis, at least one of which resulted in the complainant shoving Travis backwards by pushing him in the chest,” read one of the court documents. “Immediately before Travis threw one punch, the complainant charged towards him, towering over Travis, and engaged in threatening conversation.”

There are differing accounts as to what happened that night. 

Prosecutors say that witness accounts and surveillance footage confirm that Lopez-Wheeler did not “act out physically” towards Flagg or his friends in the moments prior to the assault. 

Flagg’s counsel argues that some witnesses said Lopez-Wheeler had pushed Flagg in the chest before the punch.

Both sides admit that the surveillance footage isn’t the best quality. 

A witness told police that Flagg and the group he was with weren’t allowed into one of the Lakeview townhouses on the FPU campus.

Lopez-Wheeler was inside the townhouse and joked with the group of males after they were refused entry. At one point, Lopez-Wheeler is alleged to have jokingly asked what the group of males would do if he kissed one of them.

The two parties were broken up by the witness, but Lopez-Wheeler and Flagg later re-engaged in the parking lot.

Court documents say Lopez-Wheeler suffered neurological failure and a severe traumatic brain injury.

During an interview on Feb. 9, Lopez-Wheeler told police that he has permanent hearing damage, memory issues, balance issues, and probably won’t be able to play baseball anymore. 

A final pretrial date has been scheduled for Sept. 24, while the trial has been scheduled to begin on Oct. 15 according to court documents.

 

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or  n handy@ledgertranscript.com. 


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