Punch thrown at Edmond bar leads to manslaughter charge

Bruce Walter Garrison, 63, is charged with first-degree manslaughter in the Oklahoma County District Court, court records show. He is accused of throwing a punch inside Majors bar in Edmond, 70 1/2 E 15, that prompted a medical event leading to the death of 47-year-old Robert Hirsch.

by Matt Dinger Modified: January 31, 2014 at 9:00 pm •  Published: January 31, 2014
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Hirsch was sedated and put on a ventilator. A trauma surgeon told Hirsch’s brother that the injury was compounded by a cirrhotic liver. Hirsch was on a transplant list at the time of his death.

Hirsch died of blunt force trauma to the head due to assault, according to the state medical examiner’s report. The death was ruled a homicide.

In a police interview, Garrison said he was playing pool with a friend and had left his belongings at the bar seat where Hirsch sat. After asking him to move, Hirsch refused and said, “Nobody can beat me in this bar.”

“I lost my temper and smacked him one time,” Garrison told officers. “I didn’t hit him that hard.”

Garrison admitted to officers that Hirsch did not hit him or attempt to defend himself but also knew nothing of Hirsch’s medical problems.

Doctor said cirrhosis of liver killed man

The doctor who treated Hirsch at the hospital, William S. Havron III, told officers that Hirsch was going to “die soon no matter what,” according to the affidavit.

Hirsch was suffering from end-stage liver failure, the doctor told police.

“His cirrhosis is what killed him,” he said.

Bob Wyatt, Garrison’s attorney, said he has not yet been provided any information from the district attorney.

“Our position is that he did not cause the death of Robert Hirsch,” he said.

Wyatt said Garrison will plead not guilty to the charge.

A woman who answered the phone at Garrison’s home declined to comment.

NewsOK.com has disabled the comments for this article.
by Matt Dinger
Court Reporter
Matt Dinger was born and raised in Oklahoma City. He has worked in OPUBCO's News and Information Center since 2006, and has been assigned to the breaking news desk since its formation in fall 2008. He specializes in crime and police reporting.
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