Almost four weeks after an incident outside Lighthouse Tavern in Waretown, where he was found unconscious on the ground with serious injuries, Robert Bethanis, 44, of Barnegat is improving slightly, his family said.
Michael Lombardo, 36, was , after several witnesses reported seeing him striking Bethanis repeatedly with his hands and feet outside the restaurant on the night of March 17, the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office said in a press release on March 18.
Lombardo posted $150,000 bail the day after the incident.
According to the Superior Court Administrator's Office, the case is still in the complaints stage, with no trial date set, as the matter is still under investigation.
When inquired about the progress of the case, the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office did not offer any information.
"We will not be releasing any more details concerning this investigation," Assistant Prosecutor Michel A. Paulhus said.
A spokeswoman for the Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune, Maureen Gillespie said Bethanis remains in critical condition at the hospital where emergency personnel took him unconscious that Saturday night.
He is still on a respirator and in intensive care, but "improvements do look positive," said his father, Robert Bethanis, 63. "Bob has shown improvement over the past four or five days."
Though Bethanis did not elaborate as to the specific ways in which his son is doing better, he did say he felt the work of the medical personnel and the support of the local community has been making a difference.
"I cannot say enough about his doctors and nurses at Jersey Shore Medical Center," Bethanis said. "It has been over three very long weeks but with their constant care and dedication, along with people's prayers, I feel he is finally moving in a good direction."
The family has been visiting Bethanis faithfully over the past 26 days.
"We are anxiously awaiting when Bob can acknowledge we are there, what we are saying and have a conversation back," Bethanis said. "It appears we still have a ways to go to reach that point. He has lots of catching up to do as he missed his grandson's first birthday and Easter."
Bethanis said the hospital allows only family members to visit the patient at this time.
"Thanks again to everyone for their thoughts and prayers," Bethanis said. "Bob still has a long road to go, so keep praying for his recovery."