Autopsy results awaited in case of man who died after a fight

November 13, 1996|By Jill Hudson | Jill Hudson,SUN STAFF

A Columbia man died after a Saturday morning fight, and Howard County police say they are waiting for the results of an autopsy to decide whether to classify the death as a homicide.

The exact cause of death for George Leroy Nicholson, 43, of the 5500 block of Green Mountain Circle in Wilde Lake village is not known, said Sgt. Tara Ball, a police spokeswoman. Police are treating the case as a suspicious death, she said.

Nicholson was found unconscious at the bottom of a concrete stairway in the Bentana Apartment complex in the 8800 block of Tamar Drive in Columbia's Long Reach village about 4: 30 a.m. Saturday, police said.

Police said Nicholson went to the garden apartment complex to visit friends, but left after a heated argument.

When Nicholson returned to confront a 22-year-old man at the apartment, the argument became physical, police said. Nicholson was found at the bottom of the stairs.

Bernadette Nicholson, the dead man's sister, told The Sun yesterday that her brother's girlfriend was in the Bentana apartment during the fight and later told her about the incident.

Based on the girlfriend's account, Bernadette Nicholson said that her brother was among four friends at the apartment, at least some of whom were playing cards and drinking before the fight.

George Nicholson and his girlfriend argued and then he left, his sister said. Later, he returned and fell to his death.

The girlfriend could not be reached for comment.

Bernadette Nicholson called the incident suspicious.

"I just don't know how George could have accidentally fallen down those two flights of stairs that wrap around," Nicholson told The Sun yesterday. "He was defenseless; he was drunk. He may have swung at the guy, but it couldn't have been hard enough to [cause him to] fall down those steps and hit his head so hard that he had severe head trauma."

She said the girlfriend also told her that Nicholson remained at the bottom of the stairs for 45 minutes -- while the younger man told the others that Nicholson was asleep. When the girlfriend and others tried to revive him later, they failed and called paramedics.

Nicholson was taken to Howard County General Hospital and later was transferred to the Maryland Shock Truma Center in Baltimore. He died Sunday afternoon, police said.

No charges have been filed pending the results of the state medical examiner's autopsy report.

Bernadette Nicholson said that her brother did part-time maintenance work in the Bryant Gardens condominiums in Wilde Lake, where he lived with his mother.

Pub Date: 11/13/96

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