|Death: ||Oct. 11, 1998|
I didn't know Douggie that well, but felt he should be remembered here. There was a period in my twenties that I spent time relaxing at a famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) neighborhood bar in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. The fellows shot darts, the jukebox pumped excellent music, and Trish, the bartender, was swift with a drink and a smile.
Going there was like watching a soap opera. There was always someone breaking up with someone, someone drinking too much, questionable trips to the parking lot, and cops cruising by to see to the peace. And there was Leonard, dear, sweet, filthy old Leonard, with his blazing blue eyes, always on his end barstool, always checking the girls out worshipfully, with intentions he'd never act on, but never quit dreaming about. He's gone now to the great beyond, and in his heaven, it's always summer, and all the girls have just shaved their legs, and they are gleaming.
Anyway... Doug didn't hang at this neighborhood bar too much, but one of his several brothers did... and I once brought a friend of mine there, and she and this brother ended up hitting it off quite well for a time.
That summer she had a pool party. Day went into night with lots of barbecued eats and drinks and fun. I remember it was a beautiful starry night. A bunch of us sat by the pool with our legs in the water, and that's where I ended up spending time with Doug, another Casper brother, whose siblings called him "Douggie".
I wish I could remember what-all we talked about that night. Other than saying "hi", I'd never known him much, and only knew he was slender and nice looking and on the quiet side. That night though, he surprised me, and we talked for hours and I really enjoyed his company. He was quirky, gentle and soft-spoken. I'd kind of written him off as sort of passive and probably not very interesting, and that night he proved to be a deeper thinker than I'd guessed. It was funny too - from a distance, he always seemed a little on the rough side, but he turned out to be a very sweet man, charming, even a little shy. He deserves to be remembered by someone who knew all his good qualities better than I did, but as it stands, no one had added him to FindAGrave and I thought I should. The record of his death is not kind to him so I wanted to throw some truthful, positive light. He was a decent man who died a tough and untimely death, so light a candle.
I don't think I saw Doug again after that. It was maybe 10 years later that I heard through the old bar grapevine that he'd been murdered, sucker-punched by some youngster. While the Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney didn't agree with that assessment, everyone who knew Douggie surely thought it was murder. His death definitely represented the loss of a young life and whatever potential his future years might have borne out. I am no attorney, and Doug may have been no saint, but I find it difficult to understand why all five charges against the assailant (murder, aggravated assault, involuntary manslaughter, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person) were withdrawn or dismissed.
I never did find a formal obituary for Doug, so can only share what little I did find, a blunt account from the Philadelphia Daily News of November 19, 1998.
ONE-PUNCH KILLING RULED NOT MURDER
Douglas Casper, 35, wasn't in the best of shape to take a punch.
He had a pre-existing brain hemorrhage and cocaine and alcohol in his system, the medical examiner said.
So when Michael Stango, 18, "sucker-punched" him during an argument on Oct. 10, the blow proved fatal. Casper, of Loretto Street near Comly, Oxford Circle, died in a hospital the next day.
Yesterday, after a preliminary hearing before Municipal Judge John O'Grady, Stango, of Scattergood Street near Langdon, was ordered to stand trial on an involuntary manslaughter charge.
Assistant District Attorney Gail Fairman did not object to the judge dropping murder charges, apparently agreeing that Stango did not intentionally try to kill Casper with the one blow.
Police said Stango was angry at Casper for not completing a patio he was installing for him.
"He sucker-punched him and killed him," said Fairman.
The victim's brother, Bruce Casper, said he saw Stango hit his brother "in the left side of the temple, up around the eye."
We all have our issues. None of us dies with a perfect slate. I wish the record was a little kinder to Doug, but am glad he will be remembered here.
Special thanks to Zenmaster for understanding human frailties and sponsoring Doug.
Created by: sr/ks
Record added: Feb 05, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 65208355
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