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Victim of brutal beating in east St. Paul breathes on his own

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The victim of a brutal beating in east St. Paul earlier this month showed small signs of progress over the weekend, KARE 11 reports.

Ray Widstrand's CaringBridge page said he was breathing for a few hours on his own Saturday and that his doctors were expected to take him off the ventilator more Sunday.

Also last week, Widstrand, 26, opened and closed one of his eyes.

Police found Widstrand critically injured Aug. 4, after he was pulled into a fight as he was walking by the melee in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood. When authorities arrived on the scene, 40-50 teens were seen fleeing from the area and Widstrand was laying on the ground with blood coming out of his nose and mouth.

According to the criminal complaint, Widstrand was walking near his apartment when he was hit in the head, kicked and stomped on.

He was taken to Regions Hospital, where he was diagnosed with potentially fatal brain swelling. He was removed from a medically-induced coma last week.

The Pioneer Press reported that Widstrand may suffer from "permanent or protracted loss of brain function."

Issac Maiden, 19, of St. Paul, was charged by authorities with two counts of crime for the benefit of a gang, as first-degree assault and first-degree aggravated robbery.

Three more teens -- Cindarion De'Angelo Butler, 16, of St. Paul and two 15-year-olds who were not named because of their age -- were also charged with first-degree assault, first-degree aggravated robbery and committing a crime for the benefit of a gang.

The attack on Widstrand and other crimes in the area led to a public forum last week where citizens and city officials discussed ways to curb the escalating trend of violence.

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