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Date of Issue: July 30, 2008

Victim declines to pursue charges

A victim in a fight outside D.Coy Duck’s bar July 11 has apparently declined to press charges in the case, prompting police to close the case.

According to police, Jeff Haskins, 39, of Bradenton Beach, was found in the parking lot near the bar, 5410 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, at about 10:40 p.m. July 10 with a head wound.

He was taken to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg in critical condition but has since been released, according to the hospital.

Holmes Beach Police Lt. Dale Stephenson had described the incident as a fight that escalated and HBPD was investigating the situation as an aggravated battery and issued descriptions of two suspects, both of them men about 28-32 years old.

In addition to interviewing the victim, police interviewed at least six witnesses.

One witness told police that the fight began inside the bar, where he saw two men joking about pouring a beer on a third man, believed to be Haskins.

The witness said Haskins had left the bar, drove away, then returned to the parking lot with a beach umbrella he allegedly used to hit one of the suspects.

The witness said one of the suspects then grabbed hold of the umbrella and began using it to hit Haskins and the other suspect used an unidentified object to hit the victim while he was on the ground.

“The attack took all of 30 seconds,” a witness said, according to an incident report released July 28.

Another witness erroneously reported that the victim was beaten by 12 men from North Port, one of a number of rumors that circulated in the weeks after the incident.

Police also reviewed possible evidence leading to the identity of the suspects. Video surveillance cameras exist in the area. Also, the bar uses a scanner system to check the validity of identification cards.

On July 24, HBPD detective Steve Wolff interviewed Haskins after his release from the hospital.

Wolff’s report said, “Haskins stated that he remembered having beer spilt on him at the bar and remembered getting into his car and parking it behind the hardware store.

“Haskins admitted that he was furious and went after the two men, but doesn’t remember anything else.”

Wolff also reported that “Haskins stated that he did not want anything done; he just wanted to put this incident behind him. He said that he did not want to press charges and asked to sign a waiver of prosecution.… Haskins stated that he is thankful that this whole deal is over.”