News 12 at 6 o'clock, January 30, 2008
AUGUSTA, Ga.---It was supposed to be a night of fun, but things took a violent turn at 1102 Bar and Grill. Now city leaders are placing the popular nightspot on probation.
It was New Years Eve, and 1102 was busy at work preparing to drop the ball in downtown Augusta. But a fight that night would steal the spotlight, leaving 31-year-old Billy Carlisle in the hospital. 1102's co-owner, 33-year-old Mike Guthrie, is charged with beating Carlisle outside the bar.
"In the month since this has happened I haven't been able to leave my house except to go to work. I know that this is not the standard that I want set for my home," said the victim's sister, Katherine Kassay. She went before the Augusta Public Service Committee asking that something be done.
"Any action that can be taken to protect people from this type of thing...and from telling other business owners that this is okay and this is the standard that we'll accept will be greatly appreciated," she said.
The committee placed 1102 Bar and Grill on a 90 day probation. "We're wanting to give everybody in Augusta an opportunity to stay in business. Now, not everybody will agree with that," said Jerry Brigham, who is chair of the committee.
The sheriff's department suggested suspending or revoking the club's license. "These are bad pictures. I've worked violent crimes for many years. It's rare that we come upon a case where that happens in a public place from a owner. I've never seen this since I've worked here," said Sgt. Richard Elim.
"The victim was not completely innocent of what happened," said Guthrie's attorney, Travers Chance. "Our position as far as Mr. Guthrie goes is that he is not the person who inflicted these injuries against the victim himself."
Even still, the club's co-owners have gotten their own lawyer and are applying to transfer the license out of Guthrie's name. The bar's website issues a warning: "all we ask from you and your party is that you don't come in our establishment and act like a complete moron!!!"
"I feel sorry for everyone involved in this situation. I think it's a tragedy all the way around," says Bo Hunter, 1102's attorney.
1102 employs about 20 people. Commissioners say they aren't in the business of putting people out of work.
Disclosure: Katherine Kassay is an employee of News 12.