Murder charges would be hard to prove after hospital fall, prosecutor says.
A beating victim’s fall in a hospital has led to amended criminal charges against his alleged assailant in a Stillwater bar fight.
Adam D. McCloud of Bayport died of head injuries in October after an altercation over a spilled drink at Smalley’s Caribbean Barbeque and Pirate Bar on Sept. 28. 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.
However, McCloud fell at Region’s Hospital, striking his head on the floor, and medical examiners were unable to determine whether the fall or a series of punches in the bar caused the death, Fred Fink of the Washington County Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.
Under the amended charge, Richard no longer faces a murder charge. The new charge alleges first-degree assault, which means an attack resulting in great bodily harm.
“Effectively there was an intervening cause such that we can’t prove a homicide,” Fink said.
McCloud died after he was removed from life support. He was known to many people as a bartender at Acapulco Restaurant in Stillwater.
A surveillance video of the incident appeared 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, the original criminal complaint said.
Minutes later, the video showed, 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.
Kevin Giles • 651-925-5037