Details of Hagan death revealed

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The week he suffered a fatal injury during an altercation at a party in a Scott City trailer park, all Stanley Hagan could think or talk about was seeing his son over the weekend, his friends say.

"His son was the only shining star in his life," Dan Williams said.

Hagan, who lived in Kelso, Mo., with Dan Williams and his family at the time of his death, died in September, five days after a Scott City teen shoved him, causing him to fall off the porch at a mobile home on Crites Street.

The fall, in which Hagan struck his head on a cement slab, according to court documents, resulted in severe brain injury that led to his death five days later at Saint Francis Medical Center.

Marcus Bowers, 18, who faced charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action for his involvement in Hagan's death, pleaded guilty Aug. 11 in Butler County to the reduced offense of second-degree involuntary manslaughter.

He also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of child molestation involving consensual sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl.

Though Hagan, an Air Force veteran, struggled throughout much of his life with alcohol abuse problems, Dan Williams said his friend and fellow truck driver had been working to overcome those issues.

Dan Williams remembered a time Hagan spent a day's work money to purchase a meal and a night's lodging for a homeless man they encountered camping out under a bridge.

Hagan was an avid fisherman and loved playing his guitar, a prized possession that now belongs to his son.

Dan Williams said when he dropped Hagan off Sept. 23, his friend admitted he intended to drink that night.

"I told him, brother, this feels like goodbye," Dan Williams said.

That evening, Hagan attended a party at a mobile home on Crites Street and became embroiled in some sort of altercation, though reports vary as to how it started and escalated.

At first, Hagan's death was ruled an accident.

Jonathan Williams said when he saw Bowers at school, before Hagan died in the hospital, the other teen made a statement about knowing Hagan was "in a coma."

When police decided to covertly investigate the fight as a possible homicide, they spoke with a neighbor who had seen the altercation.

Police said she described seeing Bowers slam Hagan's head into a tie-down stake attached to the mobile home. Another man was present.

A Scott County grand jury indicted Bowers for Hagan's murder Jan. 3.

The charges were amended after attorneys learned that medical evidence showed that Hagan's injuries were not consistent with having struck the tie-down stake, District Defender Chris Davis, attorney for Bowers, said.

Those injuries were, however, consistent with falling against the concrete, Davis said.

Bowers could serve up to four years in prison, one year in county jail, receive a $5,000 fine, or any combination of the above on the charges.

His attorneys requested a sentencing assessment report, and a hearing date will be set after its completion.

Judge Mark Richardson granted a bond reduction in the case, but Bowers remains jailed and had not bonded out as of Friday, Davis said.

bdicosmo@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 245

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