LAFAYETTE — A jury found a 39-year-old Lafayette man not guilty Wednesday afternoon in the September 2007 stabbing of three people inside a now-closed Lafayette nightclub.
The defendant in the case, Patrick Paul George, is being held in St. Martin Parish on obstruction of justice to first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Cory Sonnier, whose body was found June 24 at Lake Martin.
Thomas V. Alonzo, who represented George as a public defender, said six jurors deliberated for less than 50 minutes before returning a unanimous verdict of not guilty following a two-day trial.
“I think the Lafayette jury system worked perfectly,” Alonzo said Thursday. “(George) was not guilty of this charge. He was defending himself.”
The stabbings occurred at The Plaza, a nightclub that was located on Johnston Street. The club has since shut down.
George initially was charged with three counts of aggravated battery in the case, but Assistant District Attorney Alan Haney dismissed one of the charges prior to the start of the trial, according to court minutes.
Haney serves as the habitual offender prosecutor for the District Attorney’s Office.
Alonzo said George defended himself during a “fight that got out of hand.”
The fight, which involved about five or six people, began when George tried to stop one of the victims from touching George’s girlfriend on the dance floor, Alonzo said.
The man shoved George “and all hell broke loose,” Alonzo said.
“Apparently, sometime during that melee ... a knife fell to the floor, Mr. George grabbed it and defended himself,” Alonzo said.
George is also scheduled to stand trial Dec. 12 on one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
Alonzo said he will represent George in that case, too.
The Lafayette charges are in no way related to the allegations out of St. Martin Parish.
Maj. Ginny Higgins, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office, said George and a second man, David James Anderson, 19, are both being held on one count each of obstruction of justice to first-degree murder.
Both men were arrested in Georgia last month by the U.S. Marshals Service.