FARGO - Cass County prosecutor Cherie Clark announced Tuesday, June 20, a change to the charges in a deadly assault last month outside the HoDo Restaurant and Lounge in downtown.
Darren Patterson, 43, now faces a manslaughter charge in the May 27 fight that led to the death of 45-year-old James "Jamie" Grant, Clark said.
Reading from the charging documents, Clark said the manslaughter charge alleges Patterson "recklessly caused the death of James Grant by punching Grant in the head, causing Grant to fall backwards and slam his head into the ground."
Manslaughter is a Class B felony that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $20,000.
Patterson, who splits his time between Las Vegas and Fargo, also faces a misdemeanor count of simple assault for allegedly hitting Grant's brother, Jeffrey Grant, and a felony count of aggravated assault for allegedly punching Grant's friend, Christopher Sang.
Patterson struck all three men, knocking Jamie Grant and Sang unconscious, court documents stated. Sang recovered consciousness at the scene. But Jamie Grant never did, and he died nine days later. Grant, a husband and father, lived in Fargo and worked for Microsoft.
Clark indicated earlier this month that the charges would likely be amended following Grant's death.
According to court documents:
A HoDo bartender told police that Jamie Grant, his brother and Sang got into a fight with Patterson in the bar on the night of May 27. Patterson told police that Jamie hit him in the throat before the three men were kicked out and sent out separate doors. Patterson crossed the street before returning and fighting the men.
Patterson told police he returned to get his wife and that the men confronted him near the side door of the HoDo.
Patterson told police the men hit him, then he "got lucky with two of them," hitting them each on the chin, court documents stated.
Patterson is set to be arraigned June 29. He's being represented by attorney Bruce Quick, who said on Tuesday that the amended charge is "standard procedure" and that he was anticipating the change.
"They're just substituting one B felony for another," Quick said, adding that manslaughter is still considered a B felony, the same as aggravated assault.
The defense has not received any evidence from the other party, Quick said, but his legal team has "our own understanding of the facts," though he would not elaborate.