In January, 35-year-old Jose Luis Ochoa was killed at a cockfight.
One of the roosters, who had a long, razor-sharp spur attached to it, stabbed Ochoa in the leg. At the time, when the killing hit the TV news, it was unclear what really happened.
Now, however, Ochoa's family is stepping forward, offering up a version of that day in a lawsuit against both the man who orchestrated the cockfight and the hospital where Ochoa died.
According to the lawsuit filed in Kern County, a man named John Cabrera was running a cockfighting and gambling operation in a remote area around Delano, about 30 miles north of Bakersfield. The cockfighting area was fenced off and men stood guard.
In the lawsuit, first reported by Courthouse News Service, Ochoa's wife, Ofelia, claims that Cabrera invited her husband to watch the fights, but that Ochoa was not a participant and did not have a bird in play.
She alleges that Cabrera, in an effort to keep the costs of running a cockfighting operation down, did not have a pen in which to keep the fighting roosters, which enabled one of them to walk up to Ochoa and stab him in the calf, cutting his vein.
She is blaming Cabrera for not maintaining a safe environment.
Ochoa's wife is also suing the Delano Regional Medical Center, where Ochoa was taken after being stabbed.
She claims that, “After doing a 'triage assessment,' of [Ochoa, the hospital] staff placed him on a gurney and wheeled him in the back, thereafter providing [Ochoa] without any care.”
Ochoa reportedly died about two hours after the rooster knifed him.