[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/CRIME/07/10/serbian.student/art.kovacevic.interpol.jpg caption= "Miladin Kovacevic, 21, a university basketball player, fled the U.S. after being charged with assault. "]
Tonight, Brian Steinhauer is in a coma and his alleged attacker is across the Atlantic, a fugitive from justice, and he may stay that way forever.
On the night of May 4th, Steinhauer was in a bar in upstate New York. So was fellow student Miladin Kovacevic, a towering 6-foot-9, 280 pound man who was recruited from Serbia to play basketball for Binghamton University.
Sometime that evening, Steinhauer asked a young woman who knew one of Kovacevic’s friends to dance. Police say Kovacevic responded with brutal force; attacking Steinhauer and repeatedly kicking him in the head until he lay motionless on the floor.
Kovacevic and two other men were arrested and charged with gang assault. Steinhauer suffered severe internal injuries and to this day, remains in critical condition.
Instead of awaiting trial, Kovacevic boarded a flight back home. According to officials, after his mother bailed him out of jail, a Serbian consulate staffer managed to give him a new passport even though Kovacevic surrendered his.
The suspect flew back to Serbia, a nation with no extradition treaty with the U.S.
Kovacevic ’s mother defends her son, saying he “is not running away from justice, he’s running away from injustice.”
Despite intense pressure and on-going negotiations, there is no international law forcing him back to America.
So whatever Kovacevic 's role, that leaves no chance of justice for Steinhauer, the college senior who authorities say did nothing more than ask a woman to a dance.
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