What began as a night out at a Toledo club resulted in a melee at the former Caesar's Show Bar that eventually led to the beating death of a Findlay man.
Yesterday, two men entered Alford pleas in Lucas County Common Pleas Court for the Dec. 13 fight that led to the death of Marland Woods, 32, a week later. Mr. Woods was beaten outside the bar and died of brain injuries resulting from blunt-force trauma.
Norman Corggens, 20, of 1665 Indiana Ave., and Terrance Osley, 20, of 1815 Lagrange St., each entered Alford pleas to involuntary manslaughter, felonies of the third-degree. As part of the plea agreement, the charge was reduced from a first-degree involuntary manslaughter charge.
The men each face up to five years in prison when sentenced July 7 by Judge Linda Jennings.
According to Assistant County Prosecutor Rob Miller, the men were all at the Jefferson Avenue establishment on Dec. 12, when, after the last performance, the crowd was invited on stage to dance. Mr. Miller said that upward of 30 people went on stage and that "bumping and pushing" ensued.
Mr. Woods, who was there with a friend, became involved in a fight in an attempt to help his companion, who had come to blows with another customer. The fight escalated, and soon numerous people were punching and kicking each other on stage, Mr. Miller said.
The incident was recorded on video by a patron and later put online.
It was during the fight on stage that Osley, in an attempt to break up the group, grabbed Mr. Woods around the neck, Mr. Miller said. Mr. Woods responded by punching Osley several times in the face, he added.
The incident was eventually broken up and the club owners kicked everyone outside the bar. Mr. Woods left with his friend and went across Ontario Street to the parking lot of the Greyhound bus station.
"A few minutes later, Terrance Osley decided that he … wanted to finish the fight because Marland Woods sucker-punched him in the bar," Mr. Miller said. As a result, Osley punched the victim in the face, causing him to fall and hit his head on the ground.
Another fight then broke out about 2:45 a.m., Mr. Miller said.
"It was during this second melee that independent witnesses would have testified that they saw Terrance Osley and Norman Corggens kicking Marland Woods while he was on the ground," Mr. Miller said.
Evidence in the case included Osley's statement and witnesses statements as well as Mr. Woods' blood on Corggens' right shoe, Mr. Miller said. The two men were in a relationship at the time.
Mr. Miller added that it was as a result of the assaults that Mr. Woods died six days later, on Dec. 19, resulting in the involuntary manslaughter charge.
In an Alford plea, the defendant maintains his innocence or does not admit he committed a crime, but pleads guilty because he decides it's in his best interest. The court treats it as any guilty plea.
Mr. Woods' family and friends declined to comment after the court appearance yesterday. Members of the defendants' families also declined comment.
Caesar's was renamed Fascination! in January.
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