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Newman/Haas/Lanigan mechanic dies in bar brawl UPDATE #13 An Indianapolis man who delivered a fatal kick to the head of an IndyCar Series crew member last year in a bar fight was sentenced this afternoon to 14 years in prison.

The bar fight May 4, 2008, in the run-up to last year’s Indianapolis 500, led to murder charges against James P. Brackin. He pleaded guilty last month in Marion Superior Court to voluntary manslaughter, a lesser offense, and admitted his role in the death of David “Davey” Evans.

Evans, 63, a British racing veteran based in Chicago, had just arrived in town with the crew for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, for which he’d worked nearly continuously for 23 years. He ran the team’s engine department.

Evans died of a stroke just moments after receiving the kick to the head outside Kazablanca, a bar and restaurant in the 5800 block of Rockville Road. Friends of both were involved in the melee, which began inside when Brackin confronted Evans after seeing him speaking with Brackin’s girlfriend at the bar.

Both had been drinking. The tussle started and stopped, then moved to the outdoor patio. Brackin exited the bar through another door and said he was looking for his girlfriend when he climbed atop a table. He kicked Evans from that perch as the mechanic approached him.

“I’m not an animal,” a sometimes-tearful Brackin, 31, who worked in carpentry, said during today’s four-hour-plus sentencing hearing. “I honestly believe that neither Davey nor I were (behaving as) the men we normally were that night.”

Evans’ sister and other relatives traveled from London for the sentencing and read statements to Judge Mark Stoner. A dozen or so of Brackin’s friends and family members also testified in support of a more lenient sentence.

The judge ordered the 14-year sentence to be served in prison, rejecting a request from defense attorney Eugene Hollander that Brackin be sentenced to community corrections because he has two children. The maximum sentence possible was 20 years. Indy Star

08/29/08 At a bail hearing yesterday, James P. Brackin, who murdered NHLR's Davie Evans, was denied bail.  The judge presiding over the case said that there is a very strong case for murder.

06/04/08 How will this case turn out?  We don't think it is "FIRST DEGREE MURDER" but it might be  "MURDER IN THE SECOND DEGREE", which is defined as, not being willful and premeditated where there was an intent to inflict an injury without regard for its consequences formed instantaneously (without deliberation or premeditation) and without justification or provocation.

The defense will try to show "no deliberation or premeditation and that there was "PROVOCATION", or go for VOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER, which is committed in the "Heat of Passion" short of willful or deliberate intent.

The defendant has (David) Hollander as Defense Counsel, and he is a very experienced Attorney, formerly a Public Defender, so he has lots of experience in these types of cases.

06/04/08 This IndyStar article has a photo of the man charged with the murder of Evans.  His facial expression and demeanor say a lot about him.

06/04/08 James P. Brackin of Indianapolis was charged Tuesday and was being held without bond on one count of murder, said Matthew Symons, a spokesman for Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi. A pretrial conference was scheduled in Marion Superior Court for July 8.

Witnesses said after Brackin and Evans argued inside the bar about a woman, Brackin followed Evans outside, jumped on a table and kicked him in the head, according to a probable cause affidavit. When police arrived, they found Evans unconscious on the deck outside the bar, and he was pronounced dead at Wishard Hospital about 40 minutes later.

The next day, Brackin denied going out to the deck but later began crying and told Detective Tom Lehn, "If I did something to him I didn't mean to do it," the affidavit said.  Brackin could face 45 to 65 years in prison if convicted. Slam! Sports

06/02/08 A reader writes with this update, Dear AutoRacing1.com, This is an update to the news of Davey Evans - I am the life partner of David Evans (Donna McManus).  I miss him so much.  There has finally been an arrest.  The attacker has been charged with Murder.  This was an unprovoked attack that has taken the life of someone so many people loved.  We all want justice for David and now it seems to be happening. 

Thank you for your continued update on this story.  David deserves for the racing industry to know the facts and the truth about what happen that night.  Donna Saunders

Dear Donna, Thank you for this update and we are so very sorry for your loss.  He was one heck of a nice guy. We can only hope that justice is indeed served.  Mark C.

05/25/08 We were told by a Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing mechanic that the incident was not a bar brawl.  In fact Davey was an innocent victim of sorts because the guy who kicked him was a 'Ultimate Fighter' who basically blindsided him with a kick to the head as he and another team member were walking away from the bar.  The guy was said to have picked on the weaker (Davey being the older guy) of the two after some words were apparently exchanged in the bar.  The kick is said to have damaged a blood vessel in the head which induced the stroke that killed him, but the certainty of that is still being evaluated before the attacker is charged with murder.

05/08/08 Gordon Kirby does a great job remembering Davey Evans in his latest article.

Davey Evans Obituary
To the right is the Obituary for Davey Evans.

05/06/08 A Memorial Service has been planned to celebrate the life of our beloved team member David “Davey” Evans.

The service will take place on Wednesday, May 7, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. in the Pavilion at the Brickyard Crossing Resort, 4790 West 16th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46222.  All who knew Davey are invited to attend and share their memories.  Another service will be held at a later date in Chicago.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that contributions be made to one of Davey’s favorite charities: St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps.

05/05/08 This weekend's death of an IndyCar Series team member who collapsed after a fight at an Indianapolis bar has been ruled a homicide, police said Monday.

Police said David Evans, a British man who worked for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, died of a stroke after fighting with someone at Kazablanka bar at 5801 Rockville Road early Sunday.

The county coroner's office determined that stress from the fight induced the stroke and ruled the death a homicide, Indianapolis police said. Police said they are investigating a person who fought with Evans and that the county prosecutor's office will decide whether to file charges. 

The team, which includes drivers Justin Wilson and Graham Rahal, intends to compete in this month's Indianapolis 500. Wilson and Rahal passed the Indianapolis 500 rookie orientation program on Sunday, hours after Evans died.

Police said they were called to the bar at about 1 a.m. Officers found Evans unresponsive, and he was taken to Wishard Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1:47 a.m., police said. WRTV Indy

05/05/08 The coroner ruled that he died from a stress induced stroke.

05/05/08 The following is a statement from Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing on the passing of beloved team member David “Davey” Evans:

“The past two days have been difficult for the team as we mourn the tragic loss of Davey Evans.  He was a part of our family and was with us for 23 of the past 26 seasons.  His association with Carl Haas goes back almost 40 years when he was with Lola Cars and later with Haas Racing in the Can Am series.  We appreciate all of the support and kind words from the many friends Davey made in his 40-plus years in racing.  Our thoughts are with Davey’s family and friends at this difficult time for us all.”

05/05/08 We are sad to report that Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing mechanic Davey Evans died Saturday night.  He was in Indy, and was out with friends from the team enjoying an evening beer.  Apparently, there was a group of young men looking for some trouble, and unfortunately they found Davey.  One of them picked a fight with him.  He suffered a savage kick to the head, and it killed him.  From what we hear, that group was known for starting fights for the fun of it.  All three are in custody, and it is being treated as a homicide.

Evans was one of the most experienced crewmen in the IndyCar paddock.  He was responsible for taking care of N/H/L's engines.  Davey worked for Carl Haas' race teams for almost forty years.  His background with Haas’ teams goes back to the original CanAm series in the 1960s. 

An autopsy is going to be performed today to determine the exact cause of death.  At this time, memorial/funeral plans have not been finalized.

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