Bobby Wasylik didn't think he'd ever seen the guy before. Cue-ball bald, standing at 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighing 225 pounds, the man towered over 68-year-old Wasylik in the front yard of his Galveston home. "Are you Bobby?" the man asked.
Like most assault cases, exactly what happened next depends on whom you ask. This much, however, is clear: The attack from James Ruby, 42, fractured Wasylik's right shoulder. The blows to Wasylik's neck and chest landed so hard they dislodged plaque from his arteries, triggering multiple strokes, according to medical records and the doctor who treated Wasylik. When police arrived at the home, the right side of Wasylik's face had already begun to droop. Ruby, meanwhile, had taken off on a bicycle unscathed.
The March 14, 2014 attack didn't rouse Wasylik's friends, neighbors, and other Galveston residents because it was unusually brutal or heinous - after about a week in the hospital and time in physical therapy, Wasylik has for the most part bounced back, though he says he still suffers from nagging shoulder pain and "equilibrium" problems. What's made them write letters to the editor and pen lengthy complaints to Galveston police and prosecutors, however, is this: Galveston is apparently the kind of place where someone can beat a stroke into you -- in your front yard, in broad daylight, in front of a witness -- and skate by a grand jury without consequence.