Charlotte, Crime, Deaths, Law Schools, Murder, Violence

2L Charged With Murder: A Case of Student v. Townie Rage?

They say campus security starts in the admissions office, but no admissions committee can truly screen out all of the bad apples.

The community at Charlotte School of Law (not to be confused with UNC-Charlotte) is in a state of shock. A current student there was charged with murder following a bar fight.

We’re not even talking about one of those tragic “eggshell victim” situations, where the alleged attacker lands a punch that would cause a normal person to have a hurt jaw but causes the alleged victim to have a life-threatening embolism. Unless you consider not being able to survive being hit by a BMW to be “eggshell.”

Let’s take a look at the allegations….

The Charlotte Observer reports on an altercation that allegedly went too far:

Police said witnesses told them the two men had gotten into an altercation inside Ed’s Tavern, at the corner of Park Road and Ideal Way, and it spilled out of the restaurant.

Alan Cole, owner of Ed’s, said there was no fight but that he and a member of his security staff saw the men leave the restaurant. One of the men had his hand on the other’s collar, but Cole said he thought they may have been joking around because the victim appeared to be smiling.

Cole said he and his staff knew things were serious when the suspect, still holding the other man, began running toward the street.

“The man in control of the victim didn’t stop,” Cole wrote in an e-mail to the Observer. “He ran right up to the edge of the street and tossed the other man into the traffic lane, with no pause or delay.”

The reported victim, Robert Kingston III, was an operations manager at a Charlotte transportation company, according to the Observer. After allegedly being pushed, he was fatally stuck by a 2007 BMW. The driver of the car has not been charged with a crime.

Kenan Gay

Instead, police later arrested Kenan Wells Gay. Gay is a graduate of UNC and is apparently a 2L at Charlotte Law. He’s even part of the student government there, as you can see if you scroll down on the Student Bar Association page of Charlotte Law.

Gay is due in court today on the murder charge.

Now, you have as much information about the story as I do. We don’t know a lot. But given the information we do have, I’m wondering if this isn’t a case of “townie” versus “college boy.” I think everybody has been on one side or the other of this divide. Especially given the state of the economy, one might expect all kinds of friction between “the locals” — who are fighting tooth and nail to scrape by — and the “uppity law students,” who are just as worried about their futures of unemployment and debt, but who “sound entitled” when they whine and complain about it. If you add alcohol and stir, you can see how things could get ugly.

I’m not saying that’s what went down at Ed’s Tavern, obviously. And even if it did, I’m certainly not saying that such friction could possibly justify one man allegedly pushing another one out into traffic.

But it does occur to me to remind law students to be mindful of where they lament life’s woes. Outside of our little club, there are still a bunch of people who think law students, even law students at the newly accredited Charlotte School of Law, have it made in the shade.

UPDATE (3/6/12): Here is part of Kenan Gay’s side of the story.

Police: Man pushed in front of car outside Dilworth bar [Charlotte Observer]

(hidden for your protection)

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