Saturday, May 26, 2018
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Former Ottawa Hills High School student testifies in trial of man charged with selling liquor to minors

Hoeflinger, one of three teens who went to the liquor store, was killed in crash that night

A former Ottawa Hills High School student testified today that neither he nor his friends were asked for identification at a West Toledo liquor store the day they purchased a $50 bottle of vodka.

Michael Geiger was the first witness to take the stand in Lucas County Common Pleas Court in the trial of Nicholas Thompson, 38, a former employee of Foxx Liquor, 5341 Dorr St. Mr. Thompson is charged with selling or furnishing intoxicating liquor to a minor in connection with a Feb. 1, 2013 transaction.

Later that evening, Brian Hoeflinger, 18, one of the three Ottawa Hills High School students who went to the liquor store, was killed after drinking the vodka allegedly purchased at Foxx and then driving.

Prosecutors told the eight-person jury in opening statements that the case was very simple -- the three underage young men went into the store, bought a bottle of vodka, and were never asked for identification by the clerk, Mr. Thompson.

Defense attorney Andy Douglas, a former Ohio Supreme Court justice, told the jury the case was not so simple – that there were inconsistencies in the men’s stories. In cross-examining Mr. Geiger, Mr. Douglas asked him repeatedly whether he actually witnessed the sale of alcohol to his friend, Blake Pappas.

Mr. Geiger said he was “right next to it” but not watching directly. He said he and Mr. Hoeflinger were “looking at candy or something” and that he was “no more than 10 yards away.”

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