UPDATE: Man Charged with Involuntary Manslaughter after Deadly Fight

By: Olivia Fecteau Email
By: Olivia Fecteau Email
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UPDATE 10/30/13 @ 2:20 p.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A man has been arraigned after being charged in a deadly fight.

James Eddie Loper Jr., 51, of Portsmouth, was in court Wednesday in Scioto County.

He was arraigned on an involuntary manslaughter charge.

The charge is in connection with a fight that happened on Center Street in Portsmouth on Sunday evening.

Portsmouth Police say Loper Jr. and Jonathan Clark, 44, got into a fight and Clark died from his injuries several hours later at a Columbus hospital.

Detective Jim Charles tells WSAZ.com that Clark was hit in the chin. They aren't sure what he was hit with.

Charles also says that Clark had a brain injury.

Loper Jr. is expected to be back in court next week.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 10/29/13 @ 4:25 p.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A man has been charged in connection with a fight that left another man dead.

Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware tells WSAZ.com that James Eddie Loper Jr., 51, of Portsmouth, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, a third-degree felony.

The charge is in connection with a fight that happened on Center Street in Portsmouth on Sunday evening.

Police say Loper Jr. and Jonathan Clark, 44, got into a fight and Clark died from his injuries several hours later at a Columbus hospital.

Detective Jim Charles tells WSAZ.com that Clark was hit in the chin. They aren't sure what he was hit with.

Charles also says that Clark had a brain injury.

Clark's family says the men were arguing over a parking space when the fight happened.

“My brother-in-law got out and said, ‘Move your car, let us go by,’ and about 15 people came out and this one guy came up behind my brother-in-law and I [saw] the whole thing," Tina Clark, Jonathan's sister-in-law, said.

Loper's family, however, tells WSAZ.com the fight was over drugs. His son said that Loper heard commotion and came from the backyard to see what was going on.

“My father's out back building a pigeon coop – he raises pigeons,” James Edward Loper III said. “He just had a four-way bypass surgery on his heart, he can't even lift a gallon of milk. […] What people need to see is my father has more polish about [himself] to act a fool like this in front of his family."

Police say at this time, they cannot confirm whether either of those stories are true or what caused the fight between the men. They say the original argument took place between Clark and another man. The fight that injured Clark was a "sidebar" to that fight, according to police.

Loper Jr. is also facing a charge that is not related to the fight. His wife Susie tells WSAZ.com that Loper Jr. recently returned home from prison.

A neighbor, America Hanes, said she came out when she heard commotion on her block.

“[Loper] was trying to help [Clark] up,” Hanes said. “I didn't see what happened or who hit who or what. There was just a man laying on the ground.”

Hanes added, “I think it's just a shame that someone had to lose their life over something really stupid.”

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 10/28/13 @ 5:35 p.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) – A fight between strangers ended with one man dead early Monday morning and another in jail on unrelated charges.

Portsmouth Police say it happened on Center Street in Portsmouth about 7 p.m. Sunday night.

Family members of Jonathan Clark, 44, said they were with him when a man’s car blocked the street, not allowing them to pass by.

“My brother-in-law got out and said, ‘Move your car, let us go by,’ and about 15 people came out,” Tina Clark, the victim’s sister-in-law, said. “This one guy came up behind my brother-in-law and I [saw] the whole thing.”

Family members say the fight that followed left Jonathan Clark incoherent and bleeding, with head injuries. Police say he was transported to Grant Medical Center in Columbus, where he was pronounced dead about 2 a.m. Monday.

Police say they have identified the other man involved in the fight as James Eddie Loper, Jr., 52. On Monday afternoon, police picked Loper up on unrelated charges.

“I can't even close my eyes without seeing my brother-in-law hit the ground,” Clark said. “I just cannot believe this all happened. It's, it's a shock.”

Police say once an autopsy is complete, charges could be filed in connection with Clark’s death.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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