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Man Convicted In Death Of Fellow Union Member After Fight Over Moonshine

A jury has convicted a union member in the 2013 death of his union brother after a fight at their union hall over strawberry moonshine.

On Dec. 12, 2013, Jacob Oxley got into a fight with his union brother, Eric Yost. Oxley died the next day.

CROWN POINT, IN—On December 12, 2013, 28-year old Jacob Oxley went to a union meeting at the Operating Engineers Local 150 union hall. The next day, he was dead.

The cause of his death? Oxley was punched so hard by his fellow union member, Eric Yost, that his head hit a wall, causing “extensive head injuries with a large scalp hemorrhage due to blunt force trauma,” according to NWI Times.

Union member Eric L. Yost was convicted of causing the death of a fellow union member. Source: NWI Times

Although Oxley did not die until the next morning, on Thursday, a jury found Yost guilty of Level B felony aggravated battery and Level C felony battery resulting in serious bodily injury.

What caused Eric Yost to punch his union brother Jacob Oxley so hard that it killed him?

Reportedly, the fight started over strawberry moonshine.

Yost told police he initially approached Oxley during a Dec. 12, 2013, union meeting at the Operating Engineers Hall in Merrillville after hearing that Oxley had strawberry moonshine.

While Yost was smelling the moonshine, Oxley pushed the jar twice causing the liquid to hit Yost’s face, according to the affidavit. Yost told police he walked away.

After the meeting, Yost approached Oxley again and the two began to fight, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Merrillville police reviewed surveillance video and determined that Yost punched Oxley’s face, which caused the top of Oxley’s head to hit a brick wall, according to the affidavit.

Although a group of union members broke up the fight and Oxley went home, ate a sandwich and fed his dog, when he awoke the next morning, he had a headache.

Before reporting to work at ArcelorMittal in East Chicago, he spoke with his union representative by phone at 8:17 a.m. about the previous night’s fight.

However, a short time later, “Oxley was found slumped over and unresponsive” at work. He was pronounced dead at 9:41 a.m. at St. Catherine’s Hospital in East Chicago.

Eric Yost’s sentencing hearing is currently scheduled for July 26.

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