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3/17/05 Charge filed in death of Tulsan

Tulsa World (Final Home Edition),
Page A1 of News

The bar patron died after he was punched and knocked down in a parking garage, striking his head on a concrete floor. Two former bouncers were charged with first-degree manslaughter Wednesday in the death of a downtown bar patron who was fatally injured in a parking garage. Charles Clay Spicer, 22, surrendered and was booked into the Tulsa Jail on Wednesday afternoon. He was released upon posting a $25,000 bond, records show. Jason Daniel Nicholson, 33, a professional boxer who bills himself as the "Native American Nightmare," had not been arrested by Wednesday evening. His attorney said Nicholson had been out of state and that he would surrender. The manslaughter charge accuses the defendants of assaulting and battering Scott Bolton on Sept. 11. Bolton, 23, died in a hospital five days after he was punched in the head in the parking garage at 300 E. First St. Bolton's parents, Mark and Debbie Henry, expressed relief that the charges were filed even though they came six months after their son's death. "These charges are only the first step in answering our prayers that (whoever) is responsible for Scott's murder will be brought to justice," the couple said in a statement. "From the day Scott was buried until now, all we have wanted was to protect innocent victims from needless violence and to hold all those who participated in the violence accountable" They also praised the work of lead investigator Cpl. Chris Stout, and District Attorney Tim Harris. Stout said Spicer and Nicholson likely would be the only people charged in the case and that he was glad this day had finally come. The two men allegedly acted in concert to attack Bolton in an "ambush style assault," according to an affidavit by Stout. Attorneys for Nicholson and Spicer made statements on their clients' behalf. "I hope the police did their job, because I'm going to do mine," Nicholson's defense lawyer Kevin Adams asserted in an e-mail statement. Adams said in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon that Nicholson would surrender upon his return to Tulsa. Adams said he doesn't think Nicholson will be financially able to post bond but likely "will have to sit it out in jail" until the case is resolved. He would not discuss Nicholson's specific defense. Patrick Adams, an attorney for Spicer, said in an e-mail statement that he is "prepared to defend Mr. Spicer against this charge. I have investigated the incident and spoke with several people about the tragedy." "There is no doubt that Mr. Spicer is innocent of these charges and I feel comfortable in saying that he will never be convicted of any crime relating to the tragic death of Mr. Bolton," Patrick Adams' e-mail said. Stout's affidavit says police used a surveillance videotape and statements from several witnesses to piece together the case. A multicounty grand jury heard testimony from witnesses in the homicide. On the night of the attack, Bolton went with friends to downtown bars, including what police describe in the affidavit as Studio 54 at 310 E. First St. The club's name was changed to Studio 310 after a trademark infringement case. During the investigation, another bar owner told police that he saw Nicholson and Spicer at Studio 54 acting as judges in a bikini contest that night, the affidavit says. However, Studio 310's owner at the time, Steve Kitchell, said Nicholson and Spicer had been banned from his clubs. Kitchell said Nicholson was once a bouncer for him but was fired for being too "heavy handed," according to the affidavit. Police said they received information that Spicer had worked as a bouncer at other bars in the downtown area. Kitchell has said he saw the men outside the club on the night of the attack. About 1:45 a.m. Sept. 11, Studio 310 bouncer Adam Buchert reportedly ejected a friend of Bolton's from the bar. Bolton offered to take the friend home because the friend had had too much to drink, and they walked across the street to the garage. The garage surveillance tape shows that Bolton was approached in the garage at 1:54 a.m. by four men wearing black or dark-colored shirts. The affidavit says Buchert told police that he followed Bolton and his friend to the parking garage to get their car's license tag number because one of them had threatened to shoot him. Buchert said three or four men whom he didn't know followed him to the garage. However, Buchert reportedly later identified Nicholson in a photo lineup as as one of the men who followed him. Buchert said he had a brief conversation with one of the men in the garage and then left. He told police he heard a "thump" but didn't see the assault. Police allege that Spicer distracted Bolton while Nicholson punched Bolton in the head, causing him to fall and strike his head, court records show. Bolton suffered brain damage from the trauma and died. Harris said the manslaughter charge is consistent with previous charges in cases in which a person died after falling and striking his head after being hit. Police have said Kitchell was uncooperative in the Bolton case and that they had to serve search warrants at the bars to seek information. Kitchell flatly denies that allegation and has said Bolton's death had nothing to do with the nightclubs. Kitchell is listed as a prospective court witness in the charge against Nicholson and Spicer. Concerning Kitchell, "there was nothing presented in any of the investigation" to indicate "that he was a target of the investigation," Harris said. Bolton's girlfriend, Teresa DeSirey, said she started crying as soon as she heard that the charges had been filed. Bolton died from his injuries exactly six months ago to the day, and the news brought back painful memories. "But I am really excited. I have been waiting for it for so long," DeSirey said. "It is a great weight off my shoulders. It makes me sick to think the people responsible have been walking around free all of this time." First-degree manslaughter carries a minimum punishment of four years in prison and could bring a life prison term with parole possible.

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