$1 million settlement reached in wrongful death case against Pee Dee nightclub
MARLBORO COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – The family of a man shot and killed at a nightclub in Bennettsville reached a $1 million settlement in a wrongful death case.
The family’s attorney, Brian Mickelsen, confirmed the settlement to WMBF News.
Authorities said 22-year-old Kinnie Utley was shot and killed back in May at the State Line Bar and Grill. Tajuwon Short, 18, was arrested and charged with murder in the case.
Mickelsen said the family filed a lawsuit, alleging that the club failed to provide protection for patrons from unforeseeable crime.
Mickelsen said that on May 4, the club allowed the 18-year-old to unlawfully enter the bar with a gun. He said at some point the gun was fired and bullet unintentionally hit Utley in the back and killed him.
Mickelsen said if the club had not let an underage man into the bar with a deadly weapon then Utley would still be alive.
He also said over the years, law enforcement had responded to fights, assaults and shootings at the club. Before the May shooting, law enforcement had even talked to with management about increasing security and guarding entry points to the building, but the club didn’t take those steps, according to Mickelsen.
The Marlboro County sheriff announced back in May he had started taking the legal steps to close down the State Line Bar and Grill due to the violent incidents and violations. It’s not clear where that process is now.
As for the criminal case, Short remains behind bars at the Marlboro County Detention Center and the case is ongoing.
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