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Jury told of paralyzing punch

It was a single, well-delivered fist to the face that changed Timothy Kimball's life forever.

A Hillsborough prosecutor described to a jury Tuesday the promising young student who got punched that October night in 1991 at an alternative music dance club in downtown Tampa. Kimball, 23, remains paralyzed from the neck down and is expected to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

The former photographer fell backward after he was punched at Club 911 and smacked his neck on a wooden ledge. James Gee, an ex-high school athlete, stands trial this week charged with aggravated battery.

Gee's attorney said Tuesday that there would be no real evidence to prove Gee was the man who threw the punch or that he intended to cause this serious, permanent injury.

Kimball, who testified from his wheelchair Tuesday, said he never saw the punch coming or who delivered it.

"The next thing I know, I was laying on the ground," he said. "Somebody was kneeling by me, asking if I was okay."

A witness recalled Gee leaving the club and saying something like "I think I just killed someone."

The case is expected to go to the jury today.

Since his injury, Kimball has returned to the University of South Florida, where he is studying architecture. He said he hopes someday to design buildings and emphasize accessibility for the handicapped.

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