Man acquitted of charges in bar fight death

Jacob Tolbert (Provided Photo)
Jacob Tolbert (Provided Photo)

COLUMBUS, Ind. (AP) — Jurors acquitted a southern Indiana man of reckless homicide and other charges for killing a man by driving over him after a bar fight.

Defense attorney Eric Hayes maintained that 25-year-old Jacob Tolbert, of Elizabethtown, had acted in self-defense on the April 2013 night he killed 27-year-old Thomas Brazzell, The Republic reported. He said the evidence showed that the Vallonia man had threatened Hayes inside a Columbus bar.

The Bartholomew County jury acquitted Tolbert on Thursday of felony charges including reckless homicide and failure to stop after an accident. Tolbert was convicted on a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession.

Authorities said the men were kicked out of the bar and continued their fight outside. Police say Brazzell grabbed onto Tolbert’s pickup truck but fell off as Tolbert accelerated and was fatally run over when Tolbert backed up.

Bartholomew County Deputy Prosecutor Michael DeArmitt told jurors that Tolbert could have made choices other than backing up after Brazzell jumped onto his truck, including stopping, locking the vehicle or calling police.

“But he was so careless in his choices that his actions rose to the level of recklessness,” DeArmitt said.

Hayes said Brazzell was attacking Tolbert.

“This wasn’t an accident that was foreseeable,” Hayes said. “It was not intentional.”

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