CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Reckless Conduct and Battery for "Party Punch" (Kolber)

At a party, a guy offers $5 to anyone willing to take a punch from Tiffany Startz.  A guy named John Powell accepts.  Here's what happens next:

Powell . . . stood, put his arms behind his back and leaned forward, turning his face to the right as Startz threw a punch, his friend Alison Tomczak, 21, of Frankfort testified Monday.

A mobile phone recording shows Powell stagger back several steps after being hit as some of the roughly 20 spectators smile.

Powell collected his winnings, complimented Startz on her punching ability and collapsed.

"I saw his eyes roll back in the back of his head and I threw up," Tomczak testified, her voice breaking.

Authorities said Powell died minutes later from an artery that burst in his neck.

. . .

Startz, who is charged with reckless conduct and battery, wasn't there by the time police arrived, Tomczak testified.

While Tomczak testified that Startz hit Powell with "full force," Lowdermilk gave a somewhat different account.

"To me, it didn't look like she hit him that hard," she testified.

To make the story even eerier, here's the context:

The September 25, 2010, gathering was to celebrate the birthday of a young woman who killed herself earlier that month. There was music, alcohol, even a cake.

(Hat tip: Nicole Vincent)


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