Jury convicts Boise
man in bar fight
Victim beaten into
Express Staff Writer
County jury on Friday convicted a 28-year-old Boise man in the brutal
beating of an intoxicated patron outside the Casino bar in Ketchum last
Furlott was convicted of felony aggravated battery at the conclusion of a
four-day trial in 5th District Court in Hailey. He has not been
sentenced, but faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
administered to Kenneth Nye, who now lives in Florida, was the most savage
of an unusually high number of bar fights that occurred last summer.
Witnesses testified that the 270-pound Furlott attacked Nye, who weighs
150 pounds, by breaking a beer bottle against his head, knocking him to
the pavement, then grabbing him by the shirt while administering half a
dozen punches to his face and head. Nye’s head, one witness said, was
bouncing off the concrete "like dribbling a basketball."
two friends fled the scene, leaving Nye lying in a two-foot-wide pool of
was extremely brutal," said Jason Howell, who was crossing Main
Street when the incident occurred. "He was in horrible shape. We
thought at first that he might be dead."
flown by helicopter in critical condition to Saint Alphonsus Regional
Medical Center in Boise. Neurologist Dr. Richard Hammond told jurors that
Nye "had almost a 50 percent chance of being dead or of being in a
(permanent) coma." Nye was revived from a coma and released in three
stand Thursday, Furlott admitted to jurors that he had punched Nye, but
said he did so only to defend his friend, Justin West, 31, whom, he said,
Nye had just hit on the side of the head. Furlott denied having hit Nye
with a bottle or of having hit him while he was down.
living in Ketchum last summer while working for West, also a Boise
resident, doing a remodel at the former Moritz Community Hospital building
in Sun Valley. Both sides in the trial agreed that West was a main
instigator of the violent events that occurred during the early morning
hours of July 17.
started about half an hour before closing time when Nye, intoxicated,
bumped into West while he was standing at a urinal in the Casino’s men’s
room. Another patron, Jason Friedt, testified that West reacted angrily
and took a swing at Nye, hitting him in the mouth with his elbow.
head bouncer, Weylin Bibb-Barrett, testified that the incident turned into
a shoving match in the hallway outside the men’s room. He said he
concluded that West, Furlott and a third member of their group, Donny
Wilcox, were the aggressors in that altercation, and ordered them to leave
the bar. He said West put up an argument, and it took him five or six
minutes to get the men out.
said he saw the three a few minutes later at the Casino’s back door, and
ordered them out again. He then called for a taxi to come and drive Nye
said Nye spent the next few minutes sitting in a chair near the door
drinking a glass of water, "very confused" and dropping in and
out of consciousness.
arrived shortly after closing time at 2 a.m. Alex Dean, who was sitting in
the cab’s front passenger seat, testified that he saw three men walk
behind the cab from across the street carrying bottles. Dean said he then
heard a bottle breaking, turned and saw the bottle "explode on the
guy’s head" next to the passenger window.
testified that he walked outside after hearing the commotion, saw Nye
lying on the ground, and got some rags to mop up the blood on his head.
While he was doing so, he said, he heard West say to several people who
had gathered around, "We f… this guy up. Do you want us to f… you
time, however, Nye was incapable of getting up. Witnesses testified that
his eyes were rolled back in his head and he was unresponsive.
arrested West and Wilcox shortly after about two blocks away. Wilcox
admitted in court to having given police false information when questioned
as to whether they knew the identity of the man who had hit Nye.
turned himself in the next day after being informed that police wanted to
talk to him.
related a very different story than that told by the prosecution’s seven
eyewitnesses, telling jurors that they had congregated across the street
not to plan an attack against Nye, but simply to drink beer at Wilcox’s
truck, parked in front of the Ore House.
that when West saw Nye walk out the Casino’s door, he crossed the street
and began verbally "challenging" Nye and his friend, Jacob
Meyers. Wilcox said Nye then stepped to the side of West and punched him
in the head while he wasn’t looking. When asked by Deputy Prosecuting
Attorney Marilyn Paul which side of the head, Wilcox said, "I believe
it was the left side," then corrected himself and said the right
testified that he crossed the street behind West, and jumped into the fray
when he saw Nye hit him.
was a reaction because he had hit one of my good friends on the side of
the face," Furlott said in response to questions from his attorney,
He said he
hit Nye four times until Nye fell to the sidewalk.
Asked if he
was afraid, Furlott said, "I was very afraid. I may be a big guy but
I don’t like to fight."
closing statement, Paul ridiculed that remark, pointing to Furlott’s own
description of his actions toward Nye as "thumping" him. She
characterized Furlott’s, West’s and Wilcox’s testimony as replete
however, told jurors that the two sides’ contradictory versions of
events were probably not the result of deliberate lies, but simply
different perceptions of what had occurred.
2 o’clock in the morning. Everybody’s either tired or intoxicated.
This case is not as clear as Ms. Paul would like you to believe."
five hours of deliberation to return with a guilty verdict at 7 p.m.
Friday. One of the jurors, who asked that his name not be printed, said in
an interview after the verdict that he did not feel the prosecution to
have disproved Furlott’s contention that he had been defending a friend.
However, he said the prosecution’s witnesses did convince him that
Furlott’s punching went beyond that needed to eliminate any remaining
scheduled to be sentenced April 29. He is currently released on bail,
living in Boise with his wife and three children.
initially charged with aiding and abetting an aggravated battery, but that
charge was dismissed in September when Magistrate Judge Mark Ingram
concluded during a preliminary hearing that the state had not presented
enough evidence to support it.