A 28-year-old man was sentenced to three years in prison Thursday after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the August 2011 death of another man killed during a Berkeley County bar fight.
Jonathan Powell of Ladson reportedly threw a single punch during the skirmish that killed Richard Edward Duttine, 35, of Summerville outside the Moonshine Saloon, Bryan Alfaro, 9th Circuit deputy solicitor in Berkeley County, said.
Powell was initially charged with voluntary manslaughter, as was co-defendant Justin Johnson, 28, of Summerville, Alfaro said. Johnson's case is still pending, he said.
After Powell pleaded guilty to the lesser charge, a judge sentenced him to a five-year term, suspended to three years active prison time. He will be subject to five years of probation when he is released.
Berkeley County Sheriff's deputies were called to the 216 Myers Road nightclub in Summerville about 1:45 a.m. on Aug. 6, 2011. Duttine was raced to an area hospital and died a short time later.
Evidence indicated that Duttine threw the first punch in the altercation, targeting Johnson, Alfaro said. Powell jumped from a car, raced to his friend's aid and punched Duttine, who fell to the ground, he said.
Some witnesses indicated Duttine might have struck his head on a car or the ground on his way down, Alfaro said. Others indicated he was kicked in the head while down, he said.
A medical examiner could not conclusively say whether Powell's punch or one of the other blows was the primary cause of his fatal injury, Alfaro said.
Powell's attorney, Michael O'Connell, said the incident was "just a tragedy all the way around." He said he felt sad for the Duttine family's loss as well the impact the prison sentence will have on Powell's wife and children.
O'Connell said Powell is a construction foreman and a "solid citizen." About 20 people showed up to the plea hearing to show their support for him.
"He had an excellent job and a family who really loves him," he said. "This is not the outcome we wanted, but it's the outcome we got."
The Moonshine Saloon was recently the site of another killing as well. Earlier this month, April Infinger, 32, of Goose Creek, was killed by a stray bullet as people fought outside the club, authorities said.
Reach Glenn Smith at 937-5556 or Twitter.com/glennsmith5.
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