Suspect surrenders to authorities

Updated: June 22, 2009, 5:39 PM ET
Associated Press

DALLAS -- The attorney for an 18-year-old man accused of attacking a UCLA tennis player and leaving him in a coma suggested Monday that his client was defending himself against a "physical attack."

Chancellor Jay Hutcheson of Plano surrendered to authorities, posted bond and was released from the Dallas County Jail. He is charged with aggravated assault, a second-degree felony.

Hutcheson is accused of attacking Jeffrey "Jake" Fleming, 20, of Newport Beach, Calif., after a Rascal Flatts concert in Dallas on June 13. Police said Fleming and his friends may have argued with another group during the concert and that Hutcheson hit him.

Fleming's family said he was sucker-punched as he was about to catch a taxi. The blow knocked Fleming to the ground, where his head hit the concrete.

Hutcheson's attorney characterized Fleming and his friends as the aggressors in the incident and said Hutcheson did not "sucker punch" the tennis player. Hutcheson "reacted as most persons would react when confronted with a physical attack against them," attorney Jeffrey Hall said in the statement.

Hall also said the Hutcheson family was "devastated" at learning the extent of Fleming's injuries.

"Chance and his family have reflected upon these unfortunate circumstances and understand that this tragic event could have easily turned out with 'the shoe on the other foot' -- with Mr. Fleming's reputation destroyed by a rush to tell a story without having all the facts and with Chance in the hospital," Hall said.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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