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Charges filed in violent armed robbery, victim and family speak out

By Will Wadley, KECI Weekend Anchor, wwadley@keci.com
Published On: Jan 11 2013 08:42:04 PM MST
MISSOULA, Mont. -

Four suspects arrested Wednesday in connection to a violent armed robbery appeared in court Friday after prosecutors filed formal charges in Missoula County Justice Court.

Charging documents say Andrew Badger, Cruz Bernardi, Devon Kamaka, and Ikaika Kamaka all face felony charges ranging from conspiracy, robbery, and assault with a weapon after an armed robbery Tuesday at Jay's Mart, in south Missoula, left store employee old Patrick Bendig hospitalized with a skull fracture

Charging documents say, after beating Bendig with baseball bats, the men got away with less than $100 in cash.

Bendig was released from the hospital late Thursday, and attended the hearing to watch his accused attackers  face charges.

"I thought it was a joke at first, for the first few seconds," said Bendig, recounting the attack."(Then) he started swinging the baseball bat you know.  And then after that , I don't remember."

Bendig underwent emergency surgery at a Missoula hospital to have a titanium plate inserted in his head. 

After attending the court hearing, he reunited with his parents, who live outside Missoula.

"It just overwhelmed me that they did this, even discussing it outside," said Bendig's mother, alluding to security video that showed the suspects talking outside the store before the attack.

"He wasn't even given a chance to surrender the money, they just started beating him, as the video shows," said Bendig's father.

Bendig said he expects to have a long and difficult recovery. He needs the assistance of a cane to walk, and suffers spouts of headaches and nausea.

Despite his condition, he said he's thankful for the support he's received from the Missoula community, and nationwide.

A fund for Bendig's been set up at Mountain West Bank. To help out, visit a branch of the bank and make a donation in Bendig's name.

Read a copy of the charging document, click here.