Deputies upgrade charges for man accused in brutal beating

Ryan Meagher (WRDW-TV)

Ryan Meagher (WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, May 30, 2013

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- We're learning more about the man accused of beating someone unconscious.

Ryan Meagher, 29, was originally arrested for battery on Monday, but on Thursday, News 12 learned those charges had been upgraded to aggravated battery.

The beating at Riverside park wasn't his first run-in with the law. He's been charged with battery before. After deputies saw the severity of damage in this beating, they decided Meagher needed a more severe charge.

"Monday night when the incident was investigated by the deputy, he was not aware of the extent of the injuries," said Capt. Steve Morris with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

It was a fight on the volleyball court at Riverside Park where deputies say Meagher beat 22-year-old Colten Godsey until he was unconscious and almost unrecognizable.

"Once we reviewed the case further, including the witness statements, including speaking with the victim, and more importantly, looking at the medical report once he was released, it was obvious this was a severe beating," Morris said.

On Monday, Meagher was charged with battery, but on Thursday, News 12 learned that charge had been upgraded.

"The fact that the injuries were so severe, the battery warrant was dismissed and the aggravated battery warrant was issued," Morris said.

Deputies say he was booked into jail a second time after he turned himself in Wednesday but is already out after posting a $25,000 bond.

"It's very serious, and there's no indication there was any provocation between those two, so we took all that into account," Morris explained.

The incident report shows Meagher told deputies, "What I did could have been handled differently, but where I come from, that is how we take care of business."

"Most people would agree that's a bit disturbing. When you act like this, expect to be arrested," Morris said.

The beating at Riverside Park wasn't Meagher's first arrest. Another incident report shows back in 2006 he was charged with battery and reckless conduct for grabbing his ex-girlfriend's arms and throwing her to the ground.

In that particular incident, a weapon was also involved, and deputies say it shows his violent history.

When News 12 asked if he is a person who is a danger to society, Morris replied, "I think he's pretty much demonstrated that."

Many people are crying out saying a couple hours in jail is not enough punishment for a beating like this, but Morris says he wants to remind people this is just the beginning phase of prosecution, and Meagher will have his day in court.

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