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Bouncer: Kenan Gay pushed victim into street

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
cwootson@charlotteobserver.com
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/06/03/13/41/lqwi7.Em.138.jpeg|473
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    Kenan Gay
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/06/03/13/41/gnu0.Em.138.jpeg|186
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    Rob Kingston

A former bouncer at Ed’s Tavern described “one final shove” by Kenan Gay that he says sent Robert Kingston into the street in front of the Dilworth bar in March 2012.

A moment later, Kingston was struck by a car and fatally wounded.

Afterward, Gay looked “like he saw a ghost. Pale white. Shocked,” Matt Floyd told jurors. “I yelled, ‘What the hell did you do? You probably killed him.’ 

Gay, 25, is charged with second-degree murder in Kingston’s death. If convicted, his sentence could range from probation to 20 years in prison.

Both men had been drinking at Ed’s on the night of March 3, 2012, when Kingston tried to kiss Gay’s girlfriend. Surveillance video appears to show him touching her rear. Gay, a former walk-on football player at UNC Chapel Hill, grabbed Kingston and pushed him out of the bar.

Defense attorneys claim Gay was trying to protect his girlfriend from a “dangerously intoxicated” man making unwanted advances toward her at a bar. Kingston had a blood alcohol level of 0.29, more than three times the legal limit to drive.

Prosecutors say Gay was angry about Kingston’s advances toward his girlfriend, now his wife, and that Kingston was drunk but harmless.

Floyd, who was checking IDs and working security at the bar’s front door that night, said Gay seemed upset in the minutes before he grabbed Kingston. Gay “was becoming agitated,” Floyd said. “He said he wanted to kick (Kingston’s) a--.”

But Gay’s attorneys tried to debunk that point by showing surveillance video from inside the bar, and asked Floyd to show when, exactly, Gay’s demeanor appeared agitated.

“Does he look agitated there?” defense attorney David Rudolf asked. “Does it look like he’s smiling? Doesn’t it look like he’s laughing?”

Attorneys also sparred over whether a drunken Kingston was making people in the bar uncomfortable.

Rebecca Connerat, who was at Ed’s that night with her fiance and a friend, told jurors that Kingston was clearly drunk and made her feel uncomfortable. She said Kingston moved away from her table after her fiance spoke up.

“He made some type of advance, maybe asking if I was going to dance,” Connerat said. “Then my (fiance) kind of spoke up and said he was with me and I was with him and then (Kingston) kind of just moved on.”

Defense attorneys pointed out that Connerat had repeatedly described Kingston as “acting weird” in interviews with police.

“You describe yourself as keeping your eye on him to be cautious,” said defense attorney Sonya Pfeiffer, referring to Connerat’s statements to police. “You described Robert Kingston as lifting up his shirt. You described him as glaring at you.”

Wootson: 704-358-5046; Twitter: @CleveWootson
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