CINCINNATI (AP) — A man has been indicted on two murder charges and dozens of other counts in a nightclub gunbattle that developed from a “feud over nothing,” a prosecutor said Thursday.
Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters said the indictment charges Cornell Beckley with murder in the March 26 shootings of O’Bryan Spikes and Deondre Davis. Fifteen other people were injured. Beckley also was indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter, inducing panic, weapons offenses and felonious assault.
Davis also was charged in Spikes’ slaying, but those charges were dismissed after Davis died on Tuesday. Deters said Davis would have faced a similar indictment if he had survived. Davis’ family denies he was involved.
Beckley’s attorney, Clyde Bennett II, said Beckley denies the allegations against him.
“You have no video, and you have no ballistics indicating that Mr. Beckley fired a shot at anyone,” Bennett said.
Bennett said he gave no credence to “purported” eyewitness accounts from people at a club where patrons were partying and drinking liquor.
“I also have witnesses who will say they saw individuals firing shots, and Mr. Beckley was not one of them,” Bennett said.
The dispute, which Deters said was apparently between two groups from two neighborhoods in Cincinnati, escalated into violence while about 200 people were in the Cameo club east of downtown. The club has since closed.
A group from one neighborhood apparently had left a friend’s funeral, Deters said. The group was upset that people from the other neighborhood were there, and some people started “aiming their fingers at each other like they’ve got a fake gun in their hand,” he said.
That’s when, Deters said, witnesses report Beckley got up on a riser and “started shooting his gun.”
Beckley is accused of firing four rounds at club patrons, and Davis had been charged with firing numerous times after Beckley began shooting, Deters said.
“People died because of a feud over nothing,” the prosecutor said.
There was no evidence that Spikes fired a gun or was targeted in the shooting, Deters said.
Authorities found a third gun and were investigating to determine who fired it. The prosecutor said there might have been other shooters who used guns that don’t leave shell casings.
The prosecutor said it doesn’t matter whose bullet killed Spikes because anyone shooting that night at the club would be charged with murder.
“Once they went in there with guns and started shooting, if someone dies in the course of that event, that is felony murder,” he said.
Beckley could face up to 230 years in prison if convicted.