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Defendant takes the stand in samurai sword hacking case

Will Bigham, Staff Writer

POMONA – The man accused hacking his friend with a samurai sword testified in Pomona Superior Court Monday that he was acting in self-defense during the altercation last year on Mt. Baldy.

Wesley Brockway, 27, of Ontario said that on Sept. 30, 2007, David Gregory pepper sprayed him in the face and struck him in the head with an 18-inch baseball bat without provocation.

Gregory was angry over profane, derogatory graffiti left by Brockway three days earlier near Gregory’s Mt. Baldy cabin, Brockway testified.

Moments after he was hit by Gregory’s bat, Brockway said, Gregory reached for Brockway’s 3-foot samurai sword.

“My life was in danger,” Brockway said.

In the scuffle over the sword that followed, Brockway said he never struck Gregory with the blade.

Brockway and his brother, 33-year-old Eric Brockway, are both on trial on attempted murder charges for their role in the altercation that nearly killed Gregory.

Gregory suffered a catastrophic wound to his left shoulder and numerous other gashes to his left arm and hand.

Wesley Brockway testified Monday that he and Gregory, known by some friends and Mt. Baldy neighbors as “Mountain Man Dave,” had been friends since summer 2003.

Brockway said he and another friend, Chad Blakely, would often visit Gregory at his secluded cabin to hang out and have barbecues.

Three days before the attack, on Sept. 27, 2007, the Brockway brothers, Blakely and another man visited Gregory’s cabin for a barbecue. They were drinking heavily during the visit, Brockway testified.

Brockway said he had his sword with him that day, as he nearly always did during visits to Gregory’s cabin.

During the mile-long walk back to his car from Gregory’s cabin, Brockway said he spray-painted numerous profane messages derogatory to Gregory on rocks and trees along the trail.

Brockway said he did it to entertain the rest of the group, and felt bad about his actions the following day.

He went up to the trail that leads to Gregory’s cabin on Sept. 28 and saw the graffiti had been painted over, presumably by Gregory. He said he was pleased it had been removed.

“We’re not gang members. We don’t get angry and territorial,” Brockway said.

On the day of the attack, the Brockway brothers, Blakely and two other people returned to Dave’s cabin intending to have another barbecue.

They planned to apologize about the graffiti to Gregory, whom none of the men had spoken to since their visit three days earlier, Brockway said.

Brockway said he had his samurai sword with him when he went to the cabin.

When the group arrived, Brockway said it was clear Gregory was upset. Brockway said Gregory attacked him without provocation only minutes after he arrived.

After Gregory reached for the sword, Brockway said he reached for it too. As both men struggled for it, the sheath was pushed off, Brockway said.

Brockway said he did not strike Gregory with the sword, and picked it up only after Gregory left the cabin area to treat his wounds in a nearby stream.

Brockway is expected to remain on the witness stand during court proceedings today, and must still face cross-examination by the prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Stefan Mrakich.

The attorneys are also expected to give their closing arguments today.

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