Niantic man still in hospital 3 weeks after Groton bar fight

A Niantic man who suffered from a skull fracture, bleeding in his brain, contusions and hematomas on both sides of his skull remains hospitalized three weeks after police said he was punched on the left side of his head.

Richard “Matt” Staub, 27, was placed on life support following a Jan. 28 assault outside Rose’s Cantina on Route 12 in Groton, according to an arrest warrant for the man police say inflicted the injuries. He remains at Yale-New Haven Hospital but has since been moved out of the Intensive Care Unit and into “a step down program,” according to the warrant.

On Tuesday, Groton Town police arrested Benjamin P. Perry, 25, of 41 Miner Ave., Waterford, in connection with the incident and charged him with first-degree assault. Perry was held in lieu of a $25,000 bond and was arraigned Tuesday in New London Superior Court. He is next scheduled to appear in court on March 12 and is to have no contact with Staub.

On the evening of Jan. 28, Staub, Perry and Eric Mathews arrived at Rose’s Cantina following earlier visits that night to Mohegan Sun and the Gold Club, according to the arrest warrant.

Rose’s Cantina night manager Stephen Emerich told police that the three men were the only patrons in the bar and that they appeared to be inebriated after one drink each. Around 12:35 a.m., they asked Emerich to call them a cab.

Emerich told police that he was in the back of the bar for less than five minutes before bartender Christie Woodhall began screaming for him. Perry was banging on the door saying Staub had fallen and was unconscious, according to the warrant.

Shortly before 1 a.m., police found Staub in the grassy area outside the bar, unconscious and bleeding from the back of his head and ears.

In an interview with Groton police on Feb. 2, Perry said he and Staub had been using cocaine and drinking in excess that night, according to the warrant. Perry said he was sitting on a bench outside Rose’s when Staub “came up to him and hit him in his face.”

Perry told police that he then stood up and hit Staub back in the face. Staub fell to the ground, he said. Perry noticed that Staub was bleeding from the ear and ran to bang on the door.

After Staub was taken to the hospital, Mathews and Perry took a cab to a Motel 6 in Niantic, where Perry called his sister, Cherisse Skotnicki, at 1:27 a.m. She drove from Canterbury to the motel, where Perry told her Staub “had been hurt pretty bad.”

Friends and family have organized a fundraiser for Staub on March 2 at East Lyme Middle School. For more information, contact



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