Bar Brawl Ends in Murder Trial for Ex-UNC Football Player

PHOTO: Former University of North Carolina football player Kenan Gay is on trial for second-degree murder in the March 2012 death of Robert Kingston, 30.
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Was it an accident or murder?

A former University of North Carolina football player is on trial for second-degree murder, accused of dragging a man out of a Charlotte bar and throwing him in front of a moving car in March 2012.

The defense claims that Kenan Gay, 23, was only trying to protect his girlfriend – now his wife – from harassment. Chris Fialko, Gay’s attorney, said the death of Robert Kingston, 30, was a tragic accident.

“The fellow was putting his hands on my client’s girlfriend,” Fialko said. “My client was trying to get him off of her. He threw him out the door and unfortunately and in an unlucky way, it was right near the road.”

Gay is pleading not guilty. Jurors being selected today will most likely hear that Kingston was drunk with a blood-alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit, according to police reports.

But jurors will also hear from Alan Cole, the owner of Ed’s Tavern, the bar where the fight occurred.

Gay didn’t pause, Cole said. He “ran straight with the gentleman toward the sidewalk, stopped at the end of the sidewalk and tossed him into the street,” Cole said.

Witnesses say Gay looked shocked when Kingston died, but say he then ran and had to be chased down.

Gay could face decades in prison if convicted.

ABC’s Chief Legal Affairs Anchor Dan Abrams believes surveillance video could have a significant impact on the case.

“If the video shows that Kingston was harassing Gay’s girlfriend, that she was not receptive to his touching, that’s good for the defense,” Abrams said.

But the video will only help the defense so much, Abrams said.

“No matter how bad Kingston’s conduct was, it can’t justify pushing him in front of a moving car,” Abrams said.

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