Will there be a manslaughter charge in beating death?
WABASH CO.—In the current edition of Disclosure, on stands now, is an article about a battery involving a Jeremy Birkla, 19, beating the piss out of another guy, Billy Gunzel, 23, both of Mt. Carmel.
Birkla was apprehended after the September 25 incident and charged with Aggravated Battery/Great Bodily Harm, a Class 3 felony.
However, this morning, shortly after 7 a.m., Gunzel died of the injuries he received in the beating; specifically, head injuries. Authorities are awaiting the results of an autopsy, to be conducted in Evansville (where he died, as he was in Deaconess there for his injuries) that was to have been performed a couple of hours ago, 4 p.m., to see the result and what can be attributed to the actual cause of death from those specific injuries.
However, whether or not other charges will be filed against Birkla—who is out on bond—remains to be seen.
Seems like there have been quite a few beatings and drug-induced incidents in Wabash County that go unaddressed as far as the seriousness of them is concerned, this occurring over the past few years. As a matter of fact, we recall another Birkla kid who, according to his family members, was ingesting all manner of dope into his system a few years back down at the river, and, with a couple of “friends,” managed to overdose….with their “help.” However, neither one of them were EVER charged with anything, even though the drug-induced homicide law had just gone into effect at the time. His family implored us desperately to help, but none was to be found.
Can’t help but wonder his connection with this Birkla, if there is any at all.
But the problem remains unaddressed: there are a lot of people getting away with a lot of things in Wabash County. We know it’s not because of lack of law enforcement expertise—Sheriff Joe Keeling and Mt. Carmel Police Chief Jeff Besing between them have decades of police work under their belts.
The problem may be, however, in the prosecutor, Cassandra Goldman, who has been one of the most do-nothing prosecutors the county has seen since Terry Kaid. Goldman doesn’t want to step on any toes, and makes plea deals as often as possible and as lamely as possible in order to keep the influential parents of rotten kids happy and voting for her again. And since we’ve got an election year rolling around, that might be the case this time.
Of course, we don’t know the Birklas or Gunzels (although the Birkla kid looks like an absolute PUNK), and they may not hold the influence some in the area do. So that story may be told when we see how/if further charges are filed. But we won’t hold our breaths.
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