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Death of N.Y. airman could bring higher charge

Aug. 1, 2014 - 12:15PM   |  
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BUFFALO, N.Y. — A bar manager could face more serious charges following the death this week of a patron he is accused of pushing down a flight of stairs more than two months ago, a prosecutor said Friday.

Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita said the same grand jury that indicted Molly's Pub manager Jeffrey Basil on attempted murder and assault charges earlier this year will be reconvened in the next two to three weeks to consider a superseding indictment.

"We will most likely submit homicide charges," Sedita said Friday.

Basil has pleaded not guilty. His attorney, Joel Daniels, declined to comment.

The family and fiancee of victim William Sager Jr., meanwhile, asked for privacy following his death on Thursday at the Buffalo hospital where he had remained since suffering a severe brain injury in the fall.

"They spoke to him daily by his bedside hoping and praying for a miracle," a statement by family attorney Francis Letro said.

Sager, 28, was a New York Air National Guard crew chief who spent three months in Afghanistan with the 107th Airlift Wing out of Niagara Falls. He and Erika Webster were to be married this summer.

"There are no words to express the family, or Erika's sadness for this tremendous loss," the statement said, "nor are there enough words to express their gratitude to so many for prayers and words of comfort over these difficult weeks."

During a June felony hearing, one of two off-duty police officers who had been providing security for Molly's Pub testified that he saw Basil shove Sager down the stairs May 11, unprovoked. The officers have been suspended after allegedly pulling Sager from the bar unconscious and handcuffing him.

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