Muskingum County Prosecutor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Cambridge men sentenced in New Year's shooting at Lazy River Lounge
Four men from Cambridge who terrorized a New Year’s Eve party at a local bar with guns and violence received their prison sentences in Judge Mark Fleegle’s Court.
The Lazy River Lounge, where the incident occurred, is currently undergoing nuisance abatement procedures due to ongoing criminal activity at the establishment.
On Monday, brothers Jonathan and Christopher "CJ" McCall were sentenced to seven years in prison, as well as Scottie Minnis.
The youngest McCall brother, Johna, received a five-year sentence last week.
The entire dangerous chain of events occurred when Christopher McCall bumped into a woman at the bar and spilled the drinks he was carrying on his shirt.
Unable to let it go, the mother of one of McCall’s friends approached the woman accused of spilling the drinks and escalated the situation.
Later, as the defendants and other patrons were exiting the bar, words were exchanged at the door and the four began brutally beating a bystander who was completely uninvolved in the dispute. The McCalls and Minnis took turns beating and kicking the man unconscious, leaving him with head trauma and a facial fracture.
The four defendants ran to their car. In court, Assistant Prosecutor John Litle argued that what was already an out-of-control situation could have ended there.
“This guy was beat unconscious by four different guys, but that wasn’t enough,” Litle said.
Instead of getting in their car and leaving, the men retrieved pistols from each door and returned to the melee.
Pointing guns and shooting in the air, the four turned the scene into a dangerous riot. They then hid their guns in the same Cambridge home where Elijah Striblin hid the firearm he used when shooting in the same bar a few months earlier.
For senselessly beating the victim, each man was convicted of felonious assault, a felony of the second degree. For engaging in gunfire while acting in a disorderly manner, each was convicted of aggravated riot, including a firearm specification that carries mandatory prison time. And for transporting loaded guns to the bar, each was convicted of improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle.
Johna McCall was the least involved in the altercation and received a sentence of five to seven years. The State argued for an 11 to 14 year prison sentence for Christopher McCall, who started the altercation and kept it going, and for Jonathan McCall, who pointed a gun directly into a woman’s face immediately prior to shooting. Litle argued for a seven to nine year sentence for Minnis, who fired his gun many times in the air but had a lesser role.
“There’s a difference in people’s culpability as things go,” Litle said in court.
Judge Fleegle decided to sentence the older McCall brothers and Minnis equally.
“I can’t point where one was more responsible than the other one,” Fleegle said before sentencing each to seven to nine years in prison.
“Accidentally, someone could have got hit,” Fleegle told Jonathan McCall, who was sentenced first on Monday.
Muskingum County Law enforcement and the Muskingum County Prosecutor’s Office remain dedicated to the aggressive prosecution of persons who choose to transform places of public entertainment and recreation into locations of danger, lawlessness and disorder. This remains true, no matter what part of town and whether the cause is the owner or the customers. In addition to the collective 26 years of imprisonment handed out in this case, the Lazy River Lounge remains subject to nuisance abatement procedures within the county.
If you are aware of nuisance activities, unreported illegal activities, violence or weapons at any local liquor establishment, please contact the Muskingum County Prosecutor’s Office at 740-455-7123 and ask to file a nuisance complaint.
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