Boyington brothers accused of attacking
victim with baseball bat, tree limb
By BRENDAN KIRBY
Register Staff Reporter
BAY MINETTE - A Baldwin County jury must
decide starting today whether the injuries
Lavoice "Jody" Estain Jr. suffered last
summer resulted from attempted murder or merely a
fight among youths.
Estain was taken to the hospital in the early-morning
hours of Aug. 1, 1999, bloody and bruised with
his eyes swollen shut, according to police
reports and testimony Tuesday in Baldwin County
Donald Lynn Boyington Jr., 22,
and Craig Christopher Boyington, 17, stand
accused of attempted murder. The trial is
expected to wrap up today.
"The case we are presenting is about a
beating. I want you to notice I'm not using the
word 'fight,'" Assistant District Attorney
Carmen Bosch said Tuesday in her opening argument.
Bosch said "fight" is not an
accurate description of what went down because
Estain was lured to a wooded area next to a dirt
road outside of Bay Minette and jumped by six
"And then they left him there in that hot,
sticky August night alone to suffer the
consequences of whatever injuries they might have
done," she said.
Craig Boyington is charged with attacking
Estain with a baseball bat. His brother, Donald,
is accused of whacking him with a large tree limb.
But the brothers' defense attorneys
characterized the incident as a fight that began
between Craig Boyington and a much-older, much-bigger
Estain. Defense lawyer Peter Madden said in his
opening statement that Estain had pulled Craig
Boyington out of his car the night before and
threw him in a ditch - and then came to Boyington's
house to threaten him.
Madden said his client chose to fight back the
"What happened was a very juvenile thing,"
he said. "It was stupid. It was wrong. But
it wasn't attempted murder or first-degree
Dom Soto, who is representing Donald Boyington,
said in his opening statement that his client had
no involvement in the dispute until the morning
of Aug. 1 when he showed up at the spot while en
route to a party.
"He comes in the last 15 minutes. The
next thing he knows, he's in a fight and has to
defend himself," Soto said.
Six people initially were charged with
attempted murder. Three of them - Clayton Edison
White, Phillip Shayne Dickman and Micheal Lee
Whatley - have pleaded guilty to third-degree
assault and received one-year suspended sentences.
The fourth, David Kyle Wasdin, pleaded guilty
to conspiracy to start a fight. He also received
a one-year suspended sentence.
Wasdin testified Tuesday that Craig Boyington
was waving a baseball bat at Estain, but he said
he did not see the fight because he said he
turned to go back to his truck.
Bosch said prosecutors allowed the defendants
to plead guilty to lesser charges because none of
them used weapons, as did the Boyingtons.
Estain, who has served in the Coast Guard the
last nine months, testified Tuesday that on July
30, 1999, while on the way to a friend's house
after a party, the car in front of the one he was
riding in stopped suddenly on Alabama 225.
Estain said he could see some sort of struggle
between Craig Boyington and another teen-ager,
"I knew something was wrong automatically,"
Estain said. "I ran over there just to stop
Estain testified he pulled Craig and Lores out
and separated them, but he said he did not strike
Craig or throw him in a ditch.
Estain acknowledged that he later went to
Craig Boyington's house, but he said it was only
to see that Lores would not get hurt, and he
testified that he never got out of the car.
Estain testified that Craig Boyington told him
over the phone: "I'll get you." Estain's
cousin, Bobby Crawford, testified that Donald
Boyington called him looking for Estain and
instructed him to tell his cousin that he and his
brother would kill him.
The next night, Dickman invited him to another
party, Estain testified. But when the car stopped
on Tall Pine Road, he said, the Boyingtons and
several others attacked him.
Estain said he blacked out during the attack.
He was taken to the North Baldwin Hospital later
Estain's aunt, Jean Crawford, testified that
she cared for her nephew for about two weeks
after the confrontation while his severe wounds
"We bathed him for a week. He did not eat
for a week. He couldn't," said Crawford, who
is an emergency room nurse at the hospital.
Under cross-examination, Estain acknowledged
that he was released from the hospital about four
hours after he got there and that he has not seen
any specialists for continuing medical problems.