9OYS Continuing Coverage
'This was not a crime': Mickey Wahl's attorney speaks out on Benson bar fight charges
Reporter: Marcelino Benito
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A bar fight outside Benson left one man dead and several unanswered questions, but after more than a year of judicial jousting -- the case is set to go to trial later this year. It was the focus of a 9OYS investigation just weeks ago. Monday, 9OYS spoke to Mickey Wahl's attorney for the first time. He says his client is innocent.
"Mickey Wahl is a good man, he's a good father," said attorney Douglas Younglove.
Younglove says his client is no killer. He says what happened down Cherokee, outside the Mescal Bar and Grill back on December 13th, 2011 was just a senseless tragedy.
"The victim's family is making lots of noises to push this forward, but that's not a reason to bring criminal charges against somebody," said Younglove. "This was a tragic accident, not a crime."
The Cochise County Attorney's Office calls it a crime. So does Steven Comaduran's family. But Younglove says the facts don't add up. He claims surveillance video from inside the bar, video 9OYS first showed you back on February 10th, clearly shows Steven, the victim in this case as the aggressor. But what happened outside the bar still largely unclear. Younglove says his client did nothing wrong.
"He acted fairly responsible that night," he said. "He tried stopping the fight. He tried separating the combatants. He attempted to also be on his way so the situation wouldn't escalate."
But things did escalate. Steven died that night. His family told us last week they've been waiting for an apology. So 9OYS reporter Marcelino Benito asked Mickey's attorney if his client is sorry about what happened that night.
"Mr. Wahl is extremely remorseful about what happened that night," said Younglove. "Extremely remorseful at the loss of a life. He wishes he could go back and make sure this didn't happen."
But it did. Now, Mickey faces manslaughter and negligent homicide charges. And Younglove says that just makes this tragic accident even worse.
"It would be compounding the tragedy to destroy another family's life by hanging a criminal conviction on a man who is innocent," said Younglove.
The case is tentatively set to go to trial on April 30th. The defense has filed paperwork to throw out the indictment. Younglove says a decision is due back sometime in March.
"We feel like this should never get to trial," said Younglove.
But he says if it does, it's a case he can win.
"It's their [prosecutors] job to prove he's guilty of the two criminal charges, and we don't believe there's enough evidence to do so," said Younglove. "That's a far cry from a reasonable doubt. We don't believe a jury would ever find him guilty of any criminal actions in this case."
Younglove says he believes his client's version of events. He says Mickey was simply trying to leave the area when he was attacked by Steven and things spiraled out of control.
"Not for Steven's actions, I don't think this would have ever become what it has," said Younglove.
Note: On this story, you will find the 5 pm video. Click here for the 6 pm video.