BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A former bar manager accused in a brutal attack on an Air National Guardsman faces new charges Monday.
Prosecutors say Jeffrey Basil pushed Bill Sager down a flight of stairs inside Mollys Pub on May 11. Sager, 28, suffered a serious head injury and was in a coma until the day he died, on August 10.
A grand jury upgraded the charges against Basil after Sager passed away. Basil was charged on Monday with second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter and tampering with physical evidence. Basil is accused of trying to destroy the video tape from the surveillance system.
The judge ordered Basil to jail until the pre-trial hearings.
Defense Attorney Joel Daniels said, “Well we’re disappointed that he was remanded. Look, we just have to live with it and get the case ready for trial.”
The difference between the two major charges might seem small, but not for jury.
First-degree manslaughter means there was intent to cause serious physical injury that resulted in death. Second-degree murder means there was intent to cause death not just physical harm.
Daniels said, “Intoxication can be a defense to those intentional crimes.”
There’s been testimony Basil was drunk and on drugs that night at Mollys Pub.
Daniels said, “You’re talking about an incident that happened in a tavern at 2 a.m. And let’s face it, almost everybody in that bar was almost drunk or wanted to get drunk.”
Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita says the video doesn’t show Basil was out of control drunk.
Sedita said, “A person is so drunk that they’re just a blithering idiot, and a slob that has no idea what they are doing, and the video surveillance in this case shows that’s not true.”
He believes the issue will be defendant’s mental state and intent. The DA also wants the justice system to run its course.
Sedita said, “All this information will come out at a public trial. I am bound under the rules for being careful about what I say.”