The case against former Molly’s Pub manager Jeffrey J. Basil could be headed toward a resolution next week, with a person close to the case indicating that plea negotiations have gone very well.
Basil was convicted in January of second-degree murder for pushing a customer in the bar down a flight of stairs in May 2014. William C. Sager Jr., 28, suffered a fractured skull in the fall and died of his injuries July 31.
The verdict was set aside by State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang on May 5, due to what the judge ruled was prejudicial conduct by one of the jurors, who failed to disclose certain details of her background during jury selection.
Shortly after Wolfgang’s ruling, Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III indicated his office would consider several different ways to proceed: to appeal Wolfgang’s ruling, to retry the case or to discuss a possible plea.
Many courthouse observers have indicated the facts of the case pointed more clearly to a manslaughter charge, and it is likely that a negotiated plea would be to the lesser charge.
Second-degree murder in New York State requires that a person intends to cause another’s death. First-degree manslaughter applies when a person intends to cause serious physical injury but it results in death, and second-degree manslaughter applies when a person “recklessly” causes the other one’s death.
Basil, who is represented by attorney Joel L. Daniels, is expected back in court Tuesday.