Masaniai Arraigned And Released

Oregon St. junior defensive tackle Castro Masaniai, 21, appeared in Benton County Circuit Court Monday, where he was arraigned on charges of coercion, harassment, and second degree criminal mischief, after an incident Saturday afternoon at the downtown Corvallis McDonalds. Charges of second degree kidnapping and disorderly conduct were dropped.

According to the Corvallis Police Department report, Masaniai, who was arrested at about 4 PM, had argued with Erica Lui, 23, while he and Lui were traveling from Albany to Corvallis with their 2 year-old son in Lui's Honda Civic.

When they reached the McDonald's at 300 N.W. Third St. in Corvallis, witnesses said Lui reportedly got out, walked toward the restaurant, and told Masaniai to go home.

Masaniai followed Lui into McDonald's and told her to get back in the vehicle. When Lui refused, according to the police report, Masaniai grabbed Lui by the arm and dragged her through the restaurant. Once outside, Lui fell to the ground, and witnesses called Corvallis police.

Masaniai reportedly hit the hood of the Honda several times with his fists. The child remained in the car, in a car seat throughout the incident.

Benton County Chief Deputy District Attorney Chris Stringer said at the arraignment that Masaniai had no criminal history, but he noted that Oregon State Police had investigated another possible domestic violence incident involving Masaniai and Lui last year. No charges were filed in that event.

With the elimination of some charges, bail, which was initially set at $177,500 was losered to $75,000 by Judge Locke Williams. Masaniai was however released due to overcrowding at the jail.

Williams also ordered Masaniai, who is being represented by court appointed attorney John Rich, to not have contact with Lui after his release from jail.

Masaniai's next court date will be May 26. Masaniai has been suspended indefinitely from the football team by head coach Mike Riley, pending further investigation.

Team captain James Dockery said Monday on an interview on campus radio station KBVR that he felt the incident was unusual, and not reflective of Masaniai's character. Dockery felt that Mike Riley should keep Masaniai on the team.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com

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