- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 15, 2014

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - A former liquor store clerk was convicted on Tuesday of selling vodka to a 17-year-old boy whose friend later that day drank alcohol at a party and died in a drunken driving crash.

Nicholas Thompson, 38, was sentenced to the maximum of six months in prison just after a jury found him guilty following two hours of deliberation. He was convicted of selling or furnishing intoxicating liquor to a minor.

Blake Pappas, now 19, testified Monday in court in Toledo that the clerk at Foxx Liquor didn’t ask for an ID card before selling him a bottle of vodka for $53 on Feb. 1, 2013.

Later that day, one of Pappas‘ friends, 18-year-old Brian Hoeflinger, died in a crash after drinking the liquor at a birthday party and then driving. Hoeflinger had accompanied Pappas to the liquor store after the friends pooled their money for the vodka.

Thompson denied selling the liquor without asking for an ID. He said in an interview last year with a state agent that he didn’t remember making the sale but recognized Pappas as a customer who came into the store quite a bit.

Lucas County Judge James Bates ruled before the start of the trial that attorneys were not to mention the fatal crash to the jury, according to The Blade newspaper (https://bit.ly/1n8vxgn ). The jury could only decide if the liquor was sold to the teen illegally.

Prosecutors said that the underage young men went into the store to buy the vodka. But defense attorney Andy Douglas said their accounts of what happened included inconsistencies.

Since their son’s death, Hoeflinger’s parents have spoken to high school students about the dangers of alcohol.


Information from: The Blade, https://www.toledoblade.com/

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