DORI MONSON

Attacker who fractured El Corazon singer’s skull out of jail

Aug 29, 2019, 1:52 PM | Updated: 4:20 pm
El Corazon...
Singer and guitarist Ryan Georg had to learn how to talk again after a homeless man allegedly attacked him with a baseball bat, nearly killing him. (Cherry Cash)
(Cherry Cash)

Last November, singer and guitarist Ryan Georg was enjoying a night with his fiancée Cherry Cash, his brother, and his dad, watching musician friends perform at one of their favorite nightclubs to both sing at and frequent, El Corazon in South Lake Union.

He could not imagine that that seemingly perfect night would end with a random and extremely violent attack that would change his life forever.

And now, one of the men allegedly behind that attack is out of jail on his own recognizance with no bail — leaving a still-recovering Georg in fear for his safety.

An attack outside El Corazon

On the walk back to their car near REI that night in November, Cash and Georg were randomly yelled at by people in a homeless camp across the street. According to Cash, she and Georg said something in response and walked on, figuring the encounter was over — she compared it to flipping off a driver with road rage.

City isn’t listening, says El Corazon owner after attack

Just as Cash and Georg got to their car, however, six or seven of the encampment residents allegedly came up behind them and launched a brutal attack.

“One of them had a baseball bat and just attacked Ryan and his brother,” Cash told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “He took a couple of hits to the head with a baseball bat, and all of them kicked him and beat him when he was on the ground.”

The attackers ran off when a car pulled up to aid the victims.

Georg was rushed to the emergency room, but his loved ones feared that the attack had killed him.

“We literally thought that he wasn’t gonna make it,” Cash said. “It was scary. The police had it as a homicide — homicide detectives were on the case.”

In fact, Georg’s heart did stop a few times while he was in the hospital. The attack left him with a fractured skull and the inability to speak or sing — devastating to someone whose livelihood is music.

“It was the scariest thing we’ve ever been through,” Cash said.

Georg thankfully has no memory of the attack, but nine months later, he still feels its effects with every breath. He has re-learned to speak and sing, but he remains in a wheelchair, has a speech impediment, and gets seizures.

“I’m doing better and better, but it’s still lagging … I’m just struggling and trying and working as hard as I can every day to get back to the way I was before this happened,” he said. “It was just scary, it’s still scary.”

Georg served in Iraq in the U.S. Army, but said he never saw anything there that frightened him as much as the attack outside El Corazon. He feels that city leaders have put their constituents in danger.

“It’s really sad … they’re failing to uphold their responsibility to the citizens of Seattle,” he said.

Attacker released from jail

Georg and Cash thought they had some closure when one of the alleged attackers, Lonnie Sanderson, was recently arrested on second-degree assault for the attack.

However, King County Superior Court Judge Veronica Alicea-Galvan released Sanderson on Wednesday after 10 days behind bars with no bail — just a promise to take part in Enhanced Community Center for Alternative Programs, a King County addiction treatment program.

“Our voice wasn’t heard in the decision,” Georg said. “I don’t know why, given the information, they would let that guy out. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

Earlier this year, Judge Alicea-Galvan also released habitual offender Travis Berge to CCAP; Berge has been arrested over 30 times in four years and featured in KOMO 4’s “Seattle is Dying.” She also ruled against I-27 — a measure that would have allowed voters choose whether or not to ban safe injection sites in King County — in 2017, preventing the measure from getting on the ballot at all.

According to the county, CCAP, “holds offenders accountable to a weekly itinerary directed at involving the offender in a continuum of structured programs,” with the hope of “assist[ing] offenders in changing those behaviors that have contributed to their being charged with a crime.” CCAP is not an overnight program.

“That’s just his own responsibility to show up, so who knows if he’s going to make the appointments?” Georg said. “Obviously, this guy has a history of not showing up and lying to the officers he talked to.”

Cash pointed out that Sanderson had not shown up to a court date for a previous charge earlier this year, leading to a warrant.

“We feel like he’s going to flee, and then another warrant is going to go out,” she said. “Where is the justice?”

Georg and Cash live in terror that if that happens, Sanderson could come after them again.

“We’re kind of fearing that we might be retaliated against for seeking justice — it’s a possibility,” Georg said. “We’re are under the public eye with what we do — when we’re up there on stage, it’s defenseless, essentially. We’re just dependent on the bouncers and bodyguards to do their job, but they can’t see or stop everything.”

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Attacker who fractured El Corazon singer’s skull out of jail