Big Pine man airlifted out after beating

A Big Pine Key man who was severely beaten in a fight Friday night apparently was released from Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami this week.

Randall Smith, 52 -- whom witnesses say instigated the fight -- sustained numerous injuries after being kicked with steel-toed boots, says the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. He was flown to Ryder Trauma Center following the beating.

Arrested were Richard Steepy, 48, and Romis Rodriguez, 28. Both are charged with aggravated battery stemming from the incident on Enterprise Avenue, around mile marker 29.5. Deputy Becky Herrin says the three men are neighbors.

She said around 6:30 p.m. Friday, Steepy and Rodriguez were working on a boat in a canal behind Steepy's home. She said witnesses recounted that Smith "began to yell at the two men, then picked up a handful of small rocks and threw them at Steepy and Rodriguez."

Smith turned and started walking away when Steepy and Rodriguez attacked him, Herrin said. She said they punched him numerous times, even as fell down and became unconscious. Rodriguez reportedly is the one who kicked him.

Marathon fight still unsolved

Meanwhile, the person who beat a Virginia man outside the Brass Monkey Lounge in Marathon on Sept. 13 remains at large but the victim was released from Jackson on Sept. 19 after being flown to Ryder in critical condition.

The Sheriff's Office says Michael Pietsch, 28, who was in the Keys learning how to run a dive shop, was found on the concrete outside the Kmart fishing center at U.S. 1 and Sombrero Beach Boulevard around 2 a.m. after he left the neighboring Brass Monkey. He was bleeding from his head and making gurgling sounds.

He had "multiple brain bleeds, orbital zygomatic fractures" and a spinal fracture.

According to a Sheriff's Office report, some people who were in the Brass Monkey when Pietsch was there said he was drunk and causing some "trouble" about 20 minutes before he was assaulted. One person said Pietsch later "assaulted the suspect" outside, and the suspect hit back.

Whoever assaulted Pietsch drove away in a white sport utility vehicle, the Sheriff's Office said. Detective Vince Weiner is investigating. He can be reached at 289-2410.