Texan gets probation in stabbing at Riser's Pub in Connellsville Township
A Texan convicted of aggravated assault for a stabbing during a Fayette County bar fight last year was sentenced on Monday to serve a term of probation.
Marcus Claude Moreau, 42, a pipeline welder from Channelview who was staying in a Uniontown hotel while working in the gas industry, was found not guilty of two additional charges of aggravated assault and one count of simple assault.
Judge Nancy Vernon sentenced him to serve three years probation and pay numerous costs and fines.
She noted that Moreau had no prior criminal record and that she had received numerous letters of support on his behalf.
Defense attorney Brent Peck said he had asked Vernon to consider overturning the jury's finding, but that after consideration she chose to follow the verdict.
“Marcus is a good man. He believed he ... was in fear for his life and his friend's life. He's a family man and a hard worker, providing for his family and a sister. He is a strong member of his church and his community,” Peck said.
During his trial, Moreau testified that he and his friend and co-worker, Eli Lopez, feared for their lives in the March 10, 2011, incident in Riser's Pub in Connellsville Township.
Words were exchanged between his table's occupants and a group of men playing darts nearby.
Lopez and one of the men got into a physical confrontation, Lopez testified.
He said several people “rushed” at him, spewing racial and ethnic slurs and trying to prevent his group from leaving the bar.
Moreau, who is black, said he had gone to the bar to get some drinks when, he said, he “heard a ruckus going on.”
He said he saw his friend in “a scuffle” and tried to “stop the altercation.”
“I was scared for my life. I had a bunch of people beating on me. Nobody was going to help me, so I'm going to get out,” Moreau said.
He acknowledged that he was carrying a folding pen knife in his pocket, which he used for work.
He testified that he did not know when the knife came out of his pocket.
Assistant District Attorney Doug Sepic reviewed a video of the night's events, pointing out where he said it appeared a knife was in Moreau's hand.
A man who confronted Lopez after he punched a patron, and a bartender who tried to grab Moreau's arm, sustained stab and slash wounds, respectively, in the melee, testimony showed.
Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.