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Darren Patterson to change plea in fatal bar fight case

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Darren Patterson appears in Cass County Court on Aug. 3, 2017. Forum file photo2 / 2

FARGO – After nearly a year and several twists and turns, the case of a man accused of fatally punching another man is nearing the end with a change of plea hearing set for Thursday, June 14.

Darren Patterson faces two counts of felony aggravated assault and manslaughter stemming from the death of Jaime Grant connected to a May 27, 2017, fight outside a downtown Fargo bar. Patterson originally pleaded not guilty on both counts.

A separate count of simple assault was dismissed, according to court documents.

The change of plea hearing is set for 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

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Patterson punched three men outside the HoDo Restaurant and Lounge, 101 Broadway N., and one of the men, Grant, hit the pavement and never regained consciousness. He later died of his injuries nine days later.

A HoDo bartender told police that Grant and two other men got into a fight with Patterson in the bar on the night of the incident before all three were kicked out through separate doors, court documents show.

But Patterson rushed back to the south side to confront the men, court documents show.

The high-profile case was covered extensively by Fargo media since the day of the incident with a local news writer even getting caught in the middle of it.

A Forum journalist, Archie Ingersoll, who covered the fatal incident when it occurred, was called by prosecutors to testify at the trial. Ingersoll, who is now the newspaper’s news director, was the reporter on duty the night of the incident when he witnessed the alleged crime.

Ingersoll said he was by the Forum office, 101 Fifth St. N., when he saw Patterson strike two men about a block away outside the HoDo.

Since the incident, the case went through several changes and court notices.

On May 17, the defense filed a motion to change the venue for the jury trial to take place outside of Cass County.

In documents filed Jan. 11, the defense objected to two pieces of evidence the prosecution wanted available at trial. One was a Facebook photo of Patterson wearing a shirt the defense said would unfairly prejudice the case. The other was evidence that Patterson had previously assaulted a man outside Dempsey’s Public House bar in downtown Fargo.

Court records also showed 47 exhibits were entered for the trial – all various articles from several news outlets concerning the altercation.

Although maximum penalties are infrequent, manslaughter and aggravated assault are Class B felonies that carry up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

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