The attorney for the strip club employee charged in the death of a “Real Housewives of Atlanta” cast member said he believes charges against his client will be dropped.
“I’ve been told my client will be okay,” said Dennis Scheib, who represents Frederick Richardson, 45, charged with voluntary manslaughter in the Oct. 2 death of Ashley “A.J.” Jewell. “I think they’re going to dismiss it.”
A preliminary autopsy by the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office indicated that Jewell, 34, suffered from sickle cell anemia, which might have contributed to his death. Jewell is the former fiancé of “Real Housewife” Kandi Burruss.
“There were some findings suggestive [of sickle cell],” said Kelly Rose with the medical examiner’s office. Investigators were told that sickle cell runs in Jewell’s family.
The medical examiner’s office is still awaiting test results that would allow for a more conclusive determination.
Jewell died after getting into a fight with Richardson, now free on bond, in the Body Tap parking lot.
“[Jewell] whipped my client’s [expletive],” Scheib said on Monday. “My client got jumped on. He was just defending himself.”
Atlanta Police said Jewell sustained a hard blow to the head and was beaten to death. But if he had sickle cell, Jewell’s death might have been caused instead by an inability to replenish the oxygen used up in the fight.
The disorder, which strikes mostly African-Americans, decreases the red blood cells’ flexibility and carries a risk of various medical complications. The average life expectancy of males with the disease is 42.
Scheib has argued that, without an official cause of death, there is nothing to support a voluntary manslaughter charge.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard did not respond to requests for comment.