The two men walked into the Subway sandwich shop with their weapons hidden. Both carried large, serious knives and they demanded all the money in the drawer. One guy went into the back of the store and grabbed the woman who managed the place. Out front, the second thief held his blade against the throat of 26-year-old Moises Jaramillo.

"The thief kept yelling, 'Quit looking at me! Quit looking at me!'" said Moises. "I started crying, 'Don't hurt me.'" As he felt the sharp metal edge pressing against his windpipe, Moises heard the garbled, agitated voices coming from the rear.

Worried that manager Sherry Yarbrough would be stabbed, Moises attacked the armed robber. "I jumped up, grabbed his arm holding the knife with both of my hands. I drove him into the wall and kept driving him into the wall. All I remember is getting hit in the head."

As the two men slammed violently together and fought for the knife, the second punk rushed from the rear of the Scottsdale shop and pounded Moises in the head again and again with the handle butt of the knife.

Moises Jaramillo was beaten unconscious. Then the two thieves stomped the prone figure on the floor. They finally dragged the limp Moises into the bathroom and left him for dead.

This happened March 31, 1993.
Today, local bureaucrats have picked up where the thugs left off. Before government clerks and lawyers are done with him, Moises will be chased across the state line and run clear back to Texas where he came from.

You see, Moises made the mistake of going on workers' comp, and not getting off fast enough to suit the state's bean counters. Even worse, he's not healing up quick enough, so he's been running up medical bills.

Busted and whipped, Moises doesn't even know he's lost the battle with state officials.

But he has.
Moises' problem is he won't stay down. He keeps getting back up off the deck to absorb more punishment.

The police arrested two suspects shortly after the stickup and charged them with kidnapping and armed robbery. In a six-week period, the pair of hoodlums had knocked off 40 small businesses, and in each heist they used 12-inch butcher knives to terrorize their victims.

Only Moises Jaramillo fought back.
Understand that Moises did not own the Subway sandwich shop. He put cold cuts on bread and earned $5 an hour. He risked his life because he was worried about the safety of his co-worker, Sherry Yarbrough.

Some guys are just built that way.
Moises was hospitalized with a concussion and the grab bag of soft tissue injuries that comes along with having the stuffing kicked out of you.

"My face was swollen like someone stuck tennis balls under my skin when they beat me after I passed out."

Moises emerged from the beating a changed man. Something is wrong with his mind. He's having very bad dreams.

If Moises were a woman who'd been battered by her husband, no one would question his mental anguish. Instead of helping this kid, however, state officials are acting like they think Moises is a shiftless Mexican. You can be sure that the woman prosecuting Moises--oh, yes, he's now the target of a legal proceeding--has never been punched into a coma.

That kind of beating messes with your soul.
It's like being raped.
As if his injuries were not enough, Moises discovered that Scot Gilbreath, the Subway franchise owner, had no workers' comp coverage, a brazen violation of the law. So there was no insurance to pay Moises' hospital bill. Under Arizona statute, the state picked up the tab. That was the good news.

The bad news was that the state now had a real financial stake in making sure that Moises went back to work as soon as possible and stopped running to doctors.

So the state sicced a lawyer on Moises.
Subway's Scot Gilbreath also put his lawyer on Moises because Arizona could come after him, as the owner of the sandwich shop, to recover its losses. And the losses were adding up. On top of the thousands already shelled out to doctors by the state, Moises estimates he has another $20,000 in medical bills.

Once a vigorous jock, Moises now suffers from chronic back pain. Some days he limps, others he's merely sore. But the larger problem is Moises' emotional state. He's been under constant psychiatric care since the robbery, and last Christmas season the police took him, handcuffed, to the county hospital to make sure he wouldn't do harm to himself. He's been locked up in psych wards twice since the beating.

The doctors claim Moises suffers from acute depression and anxiety triggered by the beating, all of which greatly aggravate a pre-existing bipolar condition.

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Michael Lacey
Contact: Michael Lacey