HAZLE TOWNSHIP -- Ronald Tavarez, 27, of Hazleton is charged with simple assault, reckless endangerment and tampering with evidence.
He was the first to be arrested in the beating case that left Andrew 'A. J.' Goryl severely handicapped.
Police found him in the early morning of March 10, 2013 unconscious and bleeding on a dark city street.
”I’m glad they got this guy. It’s been a long time and the police did do the work and they stayed with it and they apprehended him. It’s great," said Francis Smith of Hazleton, who knows the Goryl family.
A. J. Goryl, 34, is still in rehab, trying to recover.
Family members and people in the community held rallies and fundraisers to help with the cost of A.J.’s care.
“That’s a nice family, they don’t deserve to have that, have a problem like that, and hopefully, it will work out that this is the guy that did it and justice will prevail," said Jim Shewack, a neighbor of the Goryls.
According to court papers, Goryl and Tavarez crossed paths on West Lafayette Court in the city.
A witness told police Tavarez told Goryl to "step off," and when he did not, Tavarez punched Goryl once in the face, knocking him out.
Then, police said Tavarez dragged Goryl down the road and left him there.
Later, investigators said Tavarez dumped water on the road to wash the blood away and burned some of Goryl’s belongings, even trying to torch his driver's license so he could not be identified.
"I remember that case. I remember the whole reading about it in the paper and the whole community talking about it and how horrific it was and how nobody knew what had happened and how such a young life with such possibility that he was just robbed of that," said one woman in Hazleton who did not want to be identified.
Newswatch 16 did speak with the Goryl family after Tavarez's arrest and arraignment.
They could not speak on camera because of the ongoing investigation, but said they hope to bring A. J. home at some point, hopefully this year.
As for the investigation, investigators indicated more arrests could be coming.