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Jury convicts suspect in Christmas bar shooting


– Jurors wanted to watch a video again Wednesday afternoon, about an hour into their deliberations, on whether it was Senaca V. Lapsley who fired a pistol through a window into a bar early Christmas morning.

The video clearly shows a man about the size of Lapsley, casually pulling the gun from under his bulky jacket, pointing it toward the glass and pulling the trigger as he walks down the short sidewalk in front of the Sports & Spirits pub, 1723 E. Wayne St.

And they decided it was Lapsley.

After just over three hours of deliberation, the jury convicted Lapsley of two charges of aggravated battery, two charges of criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon and another charge of criminal recklessness by firing into an occupied building. They also found him to be a habitual offender.

Lapsley has prior convictions for domestic battery, cocaine possession, resisting law enforcement and forgery. He could face more than 50 years in prison when he is sentenced.

Two of the bullets fired into the bar just after 1 a.m. on Christmas struck Zach Huddleston as he stood just inside the doorway, having helped the bar’s bouncer toss Lapsley and his brother out a moment earlier when they got into a fight just after their arrival.

Huddleston nearly died from his wounds, one through his neck and the other through his abdomen into the femoral artery in his left leg.

Another bullet struck an off-duty bartender, Anna Roque, causing her to lose the tip of her left pinky finger.

Testimony during the Allen Superior Court trial, which lasted about a day and a half, indicated that witnesses in the bar were sure it was Lapsley.

After spending Christmas day with his girlfriend Tequila James and children, Lapsley laughed at the late-night news, claiming the footage they showed of the shot-up bar windows were “the holes” he’d put in them, according to James’ testimony Tuesday.

Lapsley’s defense rested entirely on the absence of witnesses who saw him fire the shots. The shooter’s back was to the surveillance cameras as he pulled the trigger.

There was a discrepancy also in Roque’s description of what Lapsley was wearing that morning. She testified he was wearing a gray jacket or sweatshirt, but the detective wrote in his report that she said Lapsley was wearing a fur-type coat. He interviewed her while she was still at a hospital within hours of the shooting, having just been treated for the gunshot wound.

While her description of Lapsley’s outfit varied, she picked him out of a photographic lineup, according to testimony.