Ohio Bat Attack Takes Strange Twist

The Associated Press
Thursday, November 23, 2006; 3:15 AM

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Joe Mammana, who is known for providing reward money to help get high-profile criminal cases solved, has found himself in the middle of an unsolved crime. The head of a Columbus crime stoppers group suing Mammana says he became a crime victim himself after being beaten up by a baseball bat-wielding attacker who told him to drop the lawsuit.

Mammana, who owns a Pennsylvania egg farm, said he had nothing to do with the attack on Kevin Miles, president of Central Ohio Crime Stoppers.

Columbus police say they are investigating but have yet to release any details of the attack. They also refused to say anything about possible suspects.

But Mammana has done little to make himself a sympathetic figure. He mocked Miles' allegation, ridiculed his weight and suggested the beating was deserved.

"If he was able to talk, it wasn't me," Mammana said in an interview this week with The Associated Press. "Where was he, at Wendy's?"

"I don't know anything about it, but I'm sure if he's lying about me like he's lied about everybody else, he deserved it," Mammana said. "I'm not saying I'm perfect, but I hope somebody there is looking at this and saying, 'You know what, something ain't right here.'"

Miles said he was walking his dog in an alley behind his house about 8 a.m. Sunday when a car pulled up behind him. A man got out with a baseball bat and started attacking him, he said.

"The arm, the leg, the back _ I was hit all over," Miles said.

Miles said he pulled out his handgun but was not able to fire because of his injuries. The man eventually stopped hitting him and left. Miles called a detective who works with the crime stoppers group, then spent seven hours being treated at a hospital.

Miles' attorney, Kinsley Nyce, said the attacker told Miles to drop the lawsuit. Miles won't comment on exactly what was said during the encounter.

Miles, 49, said he's not scared. "I'm going forward with my life and hopefully they'll be able to find out who did it and bring the persons to justice," he said.

Central Ohio Crime Stoppers sued Mammana Nov. 15 seeking up to $131,000 the group said Mammana had pledged. Mammana said Crime Stoppers knew he pays reward money only when an arrest results in a conviction. He also said the group forged his name on a contract.

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