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E2 Tragedy Trial Starts, Then Stalls

By Julene McCoy in News on Jan 16, 2007 9:52PM

2007_01_justice.jpgIt looks like it may be an uphill battle for the prosecution in the trial for E2 club owner Dwaine Kyles’ involuntary manslaughter charge. The defense has successfully argued that introducing the Housing Court’s order to close the club would be too prejudicial for their client to receive a fair trial.

The order from the Housing Court which cited structural defects was still being contested when 21 people were trampled to death and more than 50 were injured on February 17, 2003. The stampede occurred after pepper spray was used in the club and more than 1100 people tried to evacuate the area quickly down a stairwell and through a 32”-wide vestibule.

Kyles’ lawyer, R. Eugene Pincham, has offered up several options that he feels will clear his client of wrongdoing, including fears of terrorism, mayoral politics, poor response by firemen and police, and that the entire thing is just a tragic accident. Prosecutors believe that Kyles, and the other three men being tried, violated the Housing Court order and kept the club open, resulting in the deaths that night.

Opening arguments will continue for the other three defendants who have waived a trial by jury.