A fight over a spilled drink on the dance floor at a downtown Stillwater bar has led to one man's death and criminal charges filed Friday against his alleged assailant.
Adam D. McCloud of Bayport died of head injuries Thursday night, six days after getting a beating that resulted in several skull and facial fractures.
Just hours after his death, 22-year-old Eric Kaprice Richard of Stillwater was charged in Washington County District Court with second-degree murder without intent and manslaughter while committing a gross misdemeanor with violence.
Richard allegedly punched McCloud, 29, at least twice after a night of drinking at Smalley's Caribbean Barbeque and Pirate Bar on Sept. 28. McCloud died after he was removed from life support, County Attorney Pete Orput said Friday.
"That a death was caused over such a trivial thing as this is so tragic as to be beyond belief," Orput said.
McCloud was known to many people as a bartender at Acapulco Restaurant in Stillwater the past four years, said his brother-in-law, Larry Odebrecht of Stillwater. McCloud, he said, stood well over 6 feet tall and had a big heart to match.
"He was this incredibly big, gregarious and joyful guy," Odebrecht said. "We're just ripped apart without him."
A surveillance video of the incident appears to show McCloud knocking a drink out of Richard's hand on the dance floor. They talked and then left the dance floor. When they came back into camera range, Richard again had a drink in his hand "and they appear to be interacting in a friendly manner," dancing and talking with other bar patrons.
Minutes later, the video shows, McCloud was making a pushing motion followed by Richard throwing several punches at him. At least two punches struck McCloud, who fell backward and hit his head on the floor, the complaint said.
Richard told police that McCloud knocked a drink out of his hand on the dance floor, offered to buy him another drink but wouldn't pay for it, and then pushed him at least four times. Richard said he struck back in self-defense, the complaint said.
Richard, described by bar staff as a regular patron, was escorted outside after the fight, the complaint said. He told Stillwater police that he knew McCloud was hurt "because he saw that his eyes were rolled back up into his head."
McCloud was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul where he was diagnosed with fractures to his nose and bones around one eye, several skull fractures and bleeding on the brain that caused respiratory failure.
During the overnight hours of Oct. 1, he suffered a series of strokes and eventually died from his head injuries, Orput said.
Odebrecht, who is married to McCloud's sister, said his brother-in-law had been planning a future with a new enterprise. "He was building a pretty solid business around selling gold mining equipment," Odebrecht said.
He said services will be held at Bradshaw Funeral Home sometime next week.
Odebrecht said the family has started the Adam McCloud Foundation to benefit Toys for Tots and other charities. He wrote on caringbridge.com that the family wants to "do the maximum good possible in Adam's name" and won't use donated money for legal costs.
Judge Richard Ilkka set Richard's bail at $200,000 in a Friday court appearance. He was being held in the Washington County jail on Friday and will next appear in court Thursday.
Kevin Giles 651-925-5037 Twitter: @stribgiles