Man acquitted in single-punch death, assaultOctober 4, 2008 No Comments
A Pacific Beach man who killed a man with a single punch to the head and claimed self-defense was acquitted yesterday of second-degree murder.
Sam Bonsu also was acquitted in San Diego Superior Court of a voluntary manslaughter charge for the death of Nathaniel “Nat” Ward, 25, last May.
After deliberating since Wednesday, the jury deadlocked 8-4 in favor of acquitting Bonsu a charge of involuntary manslaughter and two charges of assault — one for punching Ward and one for punching his friend, Colin Costanzo.
Deputy District Attorney Corinne Miesfeld said no decision has been made on whether to retry Bonsu on the deadlocked charges.
Bonsu, 35, remains held in jail in lieu of $300,000 bail, but his lawyer said he will ask at a hearing Monday that bail be reduced.
Ward’s parents and friends — many of whom traveled from Oregon to attend the trial — said outside the courtroom that they were stunned by the verdict.
“It’s like a bad nightmare, over and over again,” said Ward’s father, Bran Ward.
Carrie Ward said her son was planning to get married this year.
The confrontation that led to Ward’s death began about 2 a.m. May 24 when a cab carrying Ward and three friends nearly hit a car driven by Bonsu on Bond Street.
Bonsu testified that the men shouted profanities and made obscene gestures at him and a female companion. Bonsu followed the cab and confronted the men as they got out.
Costanzo testified that the men didn’t insult Bonsu and that Bonsu sucker-punched him and Ward. Bonsu said the men started the fight and he feared for his life.
The cabdriver was never found despite a search by police and Ward’s friends, who said the verdict would have been different had the driver testified.
Source: The San Diego Union – Tribune. San Diego, Calif.: Oct 4, 2008. pg. B.3Alcohol Culture in PB, Assault, Crime and Safety