Fiancee tries to preserve evidence in Mollys assault case

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – While the victim from an assault at Mollys Pub remains in a coma, his loved ones are fighting for him in court. There was a hearing in State Supreme Court on Wednesday morning for the civil suit filed by the fiancee of the victim, William Sager. Erika Webster is trying to preserve evidence in the case.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Judge James Dillon granted guardianship of Sager to his fiancee, Webster, because Sager’s medical condition prevents him from speaking for himself when it comes to a possible civil suit.

“They’re not running to court for any other reason than to protect his rights and make sure justice is ultimately served,” Webster’s lawyer Francis Letro said.

Letro said one of the most disturbing elements of the assault was the report of security footage being retrieved from a trash bin.

“Bill has always stood for law and order, been a protector of his country and his community, and the idea that evidence is being tampered with or destroyed while he’s fighting for his life is unbearable,” Letro said.

Letro said Sager’s parents and brother all agreed Webster should be his guardian in the court proceedings. They have known each other for years and were engaged a year ago this week. They were supposed to be married in July and her wedding dress hangs in her closet.

“It’s unthinkable,” Webster said of the assault on her fiance.

When asked she has been doing, Webster said, “Hanging in there, just trying to be strong for him. He’s a very strong guy. So I just want to be there for him as much as I can.”

Judge Dillon granted Webster’s request to order owners of Molly’s Pub and the City of Buffalo to preserve all the evidence in the case. Afterwards, Webster wanted to thank the community.

Webster said, “I just wanted to take a quick moment to thank everybody for the outpouring of support and generosity for our family. On behalf of his family also. We really, from the bottom of our hearts, appreciate everything everyone has done for us so far. Including ECMC. They’ve been very wonderful to us as a family. And we really appreciate that very much.”

Webster declined to give an update on Sager’s condition Thursday. The last official update said he was in a coma with a traumatic brain injury. Webster’s lawyer says the City of Buffalo may be named in the lawsuit because of the off-duty police officers at the bar when Sager was injured.

“As I understand it, there are serious questions about the propriety of off-duty police officers working in a bar. And as I understand it they were wearing Buffalo PD apparel, and from what I read in the paper they were also drinking,” Letro said.

At least two eyewitnesses told detectives they saw Jeffrey Basil, a manager at Mollys, push the Air National Guardsman down a flight of stairs inside the bar on Mother’s Day.

A source close to the investigation tells News 4 the video recovered from the bar shows a “shocking view of [Sager] landing,” then, three people dragging an unconscious Sager outside.

Meanwhile, the Buffalo Police Department has suspended two of its officers, without pay, as Internal Affairs investigates their conduct that night.

A News 4 source says officers Rob Eloff and Adam O’Shei were both off-duty, and working security at Mollys that night. Sources tell News 4 that once William Sager was outside, Officer Eloff set Sager up against a wall, and handcuffed him.

“Is it really so that they were off-duty so to speak? They were off-duty security personnel? That remains to be seen,” Letro said.

According to court documents, Eloff arrested Sager’s friend, Donald Hall for trespass when he tried to help his friend. Tuesday that charge against Hall was dismissed.

“It was a joke of a case. It’s why the District Attorney’s Office did the right thing, once they reviewed the facts and circumstances of the case, and dismissed it.” Hall’s attorney Thomas Hurley said, “The homicide detectives got him out of jail that night.”

Jeffrey Basil was legally able to work as a manager at Molly’s, despite the fact that he’s a convicted felon. Basil was sentenced for drug-related charges in 2004.

Basil is due back in court for the assault on Sager this Friday.

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