Monday, August 24, 2009

OSU Linebacker Tyler Moeller's Alleged Assailant Identified, Charge Upgraded

By Ken Gordon and Tim May

The questions of who allegedly assaulted Ohio State linebacker Tyler Moeller and where it occurred have been answered, but why it happened remains unclear.

According to police and court reports, Moeller was punched by Ralph G. Decker (seen at right) at Gators Cafe & Saloon in Treasure Island, Fla., early in the morning of July 26.

Moeller's head hit the floor, and he spent several days in a Florida hospital before returning to Ohio and undergoing surgery Aug. 8 at OSU Medical Center.

A 21-year-old junior from Cincinnati who was listed as a starting linebacker, Moeller will miss the season.

Decker, 27, of Kenneth City, Fla., was arrested at 12:20 a.m. and charged with simple battery—a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

He was booked into a Pinellas County jail and released after paying a $150 bond.

There are no details of the incident. The police report states only, "Male injured in fight with other male." According to Moeller's family, Tyler was punched without provocation.

A source close to the investigation told The Dispatch the charge might be upgraded to a felony, based on the extent of Moeller's injury.

UPDATE: 8/24/2009

As expected, Ralph Gray Decker, the man accused of punching OSU linebacker Tyler Moeller last month, now has been charged with felony battery.

Decker originally was accused of simple battery, a misdemeanor, after the July 26 incident in Treasure Island, Fla. Moeller hit his head, and ended up having surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. He will miss this season.

Prosecutors last week said they were pursuing a felony charge based on the seriousness of Moeller's injuries. And this morning, at 12:12 to be exact, Decker was arrested by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Department.

He is currently in jail, held on a $20,000 bond. If convicted, the maximum sentence is five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

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