By ALEX ELLEFSON & EMILIE CRUZ
The girlfriend of one of the three men accused of brutally attacking a Massachusetts man outside a Greenwich Village pizza parlor painted a strikingly different picture from the prosecution’s version of the brawl in testimony on Tuesday, contending that she feared for her boyfriend’s life.
“I thought he was going to die,” Gabriella Loyel told a Manhattan jury, referring to the defendant, Sherif Rizk.
The case stems from an incident in January sparked, the witness said, by someone calling her and her friends “dirty Arabs,” and ended with the tourist, Keven McCarron bloodied and unconscious with a fractured skull.
Rizk and some friends were out to celebrate his and co-defendant Mahmoud Habib’s graduation from Brooklyn College.
“I saw [Sherif] on the ground under a group of guys fighting,” Loyel testified as a defense witness. “A couple of guys were kicking and punching him. Sherif was not able to defend himself.”
Jurors earlier had heard accounts by prosecution witnesses of an alleged brutal beating of McCarron by Rizk, Habib, and a third defendant Hatem Farsakh, including testimony by McCarron’s teary-eyed older brother Patrick.
However, Loyel’s first-hand account placed the eldest McCarron sibling on top of Rizk, pinning him down as others beat and kicked him on the head.
But Prosecutors charge that the group beat McCarron with a bat, tire iron and club to unconsciousness and have many videos of the attack.
Rizk seemed relaxed and chewed gum as his girlfriend was on the stand, while Habib hunched over next to hm, looking uneasy.