Attempt to lower bail denied for Mount Pleasant man accused of fatal punch in King Street brawl

Dalton Ellis Clarke, 24, of Mount Pleasant, is charged with involuntary manslaughter.

A judge Friday morning in Charleston County court denied an attempt to further lower bail for the Mount Pleasant man accused of killing a man in a King Street brawl.

Dalton Ellis Clarke, 24, has been in jail since his May arrest in connection to the death of Clinton Seymour, 27.

Seymour died April 28 at the Medical University Hospital while being treated for skull fractures that resulted from being "sucker-punched" during the brawl. A joke prompted the fatal fight, Charleston police said.

Clarke's bail was initially set at $500,000 for an involuntary manslaughter charge. A magistrate judge reduced the amount to $150,000 two weeks ago during a preliminary hearing.

In court on Friday, Clarke's attorney Michael DuPree unsuccessfully urged 9th Circuit Judge Roger Young to lower bail again to $25,000.

"This case could take some time to go to trial. I'd hate to see (Clarke) sitting in jail until then," DuPree said.

Evidence painting Clarke as Seymour's killer was thin, DuPree told Young, considering investigators initially charged another man in the death. Authorities only targeted Clarke after a few text messages and witness stories surfaced saying he was the one who threw the "sucker punch" that ended Seymour's life, DuPree argued.

Ninth Circuit Assistant Solicitor Chad Simpson told the judge at least six different people have identified Clarke as Seymour's killer.

A "silly, verbal only dispute" between Seymour's friends and Clarke's turned violent when Clarke "sprinted up and punched the first guy he saw," Simpson said.

That person happened to be Seymour, causing him to fall to the ground, striking his head against the concrete.

Seymour had been the sober designated driver for his group. He wasn't even involved in the initial argument, Simpson alleged.

"Sucker-punched is a very accurate description of what happened here," he said.

Seymour's father, Don Seymour addressed the court, insisting that Clarke would be a danger to the community if released from jail.

"Clint, in essence, is the community. ... Law-abiding, sober citizens ought to be able to walk the streets of this city without the risk of their lives ending instantly for no reason," Don Seymour said.

At the hearing's conclusion, Young decided against lowering bail. If Clarke does get out of jail, Young added, he will be subjected to GPS monitoring restricting him to home, work and church.

Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.

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