Man accused of assault claims innocence

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 6, 2001

A complaint was filed for assault, first degree on Sept. 7 at Eight-Second Saloon on East Commerce Street, where a victim, Timothy Owens of Greenville was severely injured.

The Greenville Police Department investigated this incident, and the same night as the incident, two arrests were made.

Chad Langford, 28, of Hickory Street and Scott Gafford, 24, of Aztec Road were both arrested, charged with assault, first degree and placed in the Butler County jail.

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Now there are conflicting recounts of the incident and how it occurred, including those who were involved, and circumstances as they were reported.

Gafford and another claimed witness are saying he was acting as a "Good Samaritan."

Although there have been no claims to Langford's innocence by witness statements regarding his involvement in the assault, which according to reports filed involved the striking of the victim repeatedly about the head with a pool cue stick, there are claims that Gafford was in fact coming to the aid of the victim, and was the one who pulled Langford away from the victim.

"Several of the claims as reported in an article in the Sept. 12 edition of The Greenville Advocate, just were not true," said Lori B. Stringfellow, a local business owner who said she was close enough to the incident to see what was actually happening. "Scott Gafford was the one who broke up the fight n if he had not been there, things could have been a lot worse."

Stringfellow said those persons who did sign statements as witnesses with the investigators were not actually close enough to see what actually had taken place.

"The people who signed witness statements were either not in the bar, or were people that were sitting at the front of the business, not in any position to even see what happened," Stringfellow said.

"The owner of the lounge was not on the premises, and the security guard, Terry Johnson, was outside the building, talking on a cellular phone when the assault occurred," she said. "The bartender was the only employee close enough to actually witness what had happened."

Stringfellow said although there have been many rumors about what happened, that is all they are, rumors.

She also said she disputes officer accounts of the situation when they arrived.

"As for Tim Owens lying in a pool of blood when the police arrived, that is also false," she said. "He (Owens) was standing up outside the bar, talking to me and the security guard (Johnson) when they arrived."

Gafford, who just days before the incident had been released from prison after completing a sentence for violent crimes and sex-related crimes, said it was more of a case of being in the wrong place at the right time.

"I have made a very bad name for myself in Greenville and Butler County," said David Scott Gafford. "However, I am trying to move ahead and live a good life n I realize that to live a good and outstanding life I should not be in places such as the Eight-Second Saloon."

Gafford said he has learned that people can do the right things in life after they have learned their lesson.

"I thought I was doing the right thing by breaking up the incident at the Eight-Second Saloon that night, but then I was arrested and charged with assault n all I did was break a fight up," he said.

Both Gafford and Langford are presently released from jail on bond, and will now wait until a Grand Jury convenes, at which time investigators will present evidence and witnesses in the case.

The Grand Jury will be charged with the task of determining if enough evidence exists for either one or both defendants to be sent to trial in the case.