Amusement ride driver charged with murder in Indiana Fair brawl – .

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Amusement ride driver charged with murder in Indiana Fair brawl – .


BROWNSTOWN, IND. – A merry-go-round operator at a southern Indiana county fair has been charged with murder following the death of a man who fell unconscious in a closing time brawl, reported announced the authorities.

Zachariah Konkle, 32, allegedly rendered Michael Steele unconscious by pinning him to the ground during the July 27 fight at the Jackson County Fair, prosecutors said. Steele died in a hospital on Saturday.

An autopsy revealed Steele’s death to be homicide by asphyxiation. His death prompted prosecutors to elevate Konkle’s initial strangulation charge to a murder charge, The Indianapolis Star reported.

At his first hearing Wednesday, a judge appointed a public defender for Konkle, being held without bail at the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown, about 70 miles south of Indianapolis.

A message requesting comment on Konkle’s behalf was left with the county public defender’s office on Thursday.

According to court records, the brawl unfolded when a family told Konkle, who operated the Black Widow ride, that someone at a nearby game made fun of their child with special needs.

Konkle told the family he would take care of the problem, then hit a gaming operator in the head while accusing him of making fun of an autistic child, according to records.

When the game operator denied doing so, witnesses said Konkle approached Steele, threatened to hit him and yelled at him until Steele punched him . The men then fell to the ground, where witnesses said Konkle put Steele in a lock on the head and hit him five to six times.

Konkle later told police he felt he lay on Steele’s chest for a minute, maybe two, before he went limp.

A woman told police she tried performing CPR on Steele until Konkle pushed her away, claiming she was not doing it correctly. He then performed CPR until police arrived and arrested him, according to records.

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