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Mom of beating victim says he didn't set out to fight

Family members say all John Ball wanted to do was help his 15-year-old brother get out of a bad situation.

For his trouble, Ball, 16, remained in critical condition and in a deep coma Wednesday at an area hospital, almost a week after a juvenile and an adult allegedly beat up Ball and a friend.Two others, another adult and a juvenile, watched the Oct. 9 fight and may have participated, police said.

On Tuesday, prosecutors filed felony charges against David Jaramillo, 19, South Salt Lake, for his alleged role in the beating.

Prosecutors say Jaramillo used a tire iron in the fight. He was charged with two counts of aggravated assault, a second-degree felony, and remains in the Salt Lake County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bond.

Police believe the 17-year-old juvenile, also from South Salt Lake, beat Ball and the victim's friend with a baseball bat about 4:30 p.m. near Woodrow Wilson Elementary, 2825 S. 200 East.

The friend received only minor injuries.

South Salt Lake Police Sgt. Beau Babka said the juvenile was booked into youth detention and prosecutors were expected to review the case this week.

Court documents allege Jaramillo whacked the friend on the arm with the tire iron, while the 17-year-old suspect struck Ball several times in the head with the bat.

Ball's doctors said he "is not expected to survive," according to the charging documents.

The seriousness of the crime has police concerned.

"It's heinous, definitely," Babka said. "I think (prosecutors) will take that under consideration. We always hear about guns and knives, but when someone uses a bat or other similar weapon multiple times, that's heinous."

During the fight, Babka said Ball and his friend tried to use their belts to defend themselves. The victims were not armed.

Police said Ball and his friend had "mutually arranged" to meet the four males at the school, intent on fighting.

But the victim's mother said that wasn't the case.

"He was not going there looking for a confrontation," Wendy Pearson said. "My boys aren't in any gangs."

Instead, Pearson said, Ball was en route to pick up his 15-year-old brother, who had received threats after breaking up with a girl. Along the way, Ball and his friend were approached by the four assailants at the school, Pearson said.

"The four of them confronted them and John kept saying, `We don't want any problems,'" the South Salt Lake woman said.

Now Pearson spends her days and evenings at the hospital's neuro-critical care unit. She said the only time she has left to get some rest is at the urging of her husband, ex-husband and other family members.

"He was deeper in the coma last night," Pearson said Tuesday. "It's really touch and go. It's not in his favor that he'll survive this," she said.

Babka said investigators will refile murder charges if Ball dies.