Charges fizzle against bartender accused of over-serving mass shooter who killed 8

A grand jury has declined to indict a Texas bartender charged earlier this year with a crime for continuing to serve a drunken man who went on to gun down eight people, including his estranged wife, at a 2017 Dallas Cowboys watch party.

The Dallas Morning News reported Monday that Lindsey Megan Glass, 27, of Plano, will not face charges for her actions Sept. 10, 2017, the night Spencer James Hight, 32, left the bar where Glass worked and drove to the nearby home he once shared with 27-year-old Meredith Emily Hight.

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Spencer Hight, who was armed with multiple weapons, killed Meredith Hight and seven friends, including some of his own closest friends. The gunman was shot and killed by responding police officers.

Court documents obtained by NBC Dallas-Fort Worth indicated Spencer Hight's blood alcohol concentration was 0.33 at the time of his death, more than four times the legal limit.

>> Related story: Texas bartender over-served man who later killed 8, including estranged wife, police say

Glass' attorneys, Scott Palmer and Rebekah Perlstein, announced Monday that a Collin County grand jury last month decided against charges against Glass, who was accused of violating the state's "sale to certain persons" law. A person commits the offense if they, "with criminal negligence, sell an alcoholic beverage to a habitual drunkard or an intoxicated or insane person."

The crime is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $500.

In a statement obtained by the News, the lawyers said their client was relieved by the grand jurors' decision.

"It has been our position from the outset that Spencer Hight's decision to destroy the lives of eight people was wholly unrelated to the four drinks that Hight consumed at the Local Public House," the attorneys' statement read.

Palmer had strong words for the Plano Police Department in May after Glass had been charged.

"Lindsey Glass is the person who called 911," Palmer said at that time in a written statement to WFAA in Dallas. "Not only did she know Spencer, but she was friends with Meredith and was supposed to be at the party that evening. In her interviews with detectives, they commended Lindsey for her action and that she saved lives that day."

Killed alongside Meredith Hight were Anthony Michael Cross, 33; Olivia Nicole Deffner, 24; James Richard Dunlop, 29; Darryl William Hawkins, 22; Rion Christopher Morgan, 31; Myah Sade Bass, 28; and Caleb Seth Edwards, 25. A ninth person was injured in the shooting but survived.

Morgan was a groomsman at the Hights' September 2011 wedding and Dunlop served as Spencer Hight's best man when the couple redid their ceremony on a Jamaican cruise the following May, the News reported.

Plano police Detective Paul Martinez, who was lead investigator on the case, wrote in the affidavit for Glass' arrest that Hight went to the Local Public House twice prior to the mass shooting. During his first visit, he had two well gins, the document said.

During his second visit, he had two beers and a shot.

Watch a portion of the surveillance footage from the Local Public House below, courtesy of WFAA. 

"The video also shows Spencer Hight pulling out a gun from his right front waistband area in the presence of Glass," the affidavit said. "Affiant's investigation indicates the gun to be a black .380 Ruger firearm."

Glass' attorneys said the video showed Glass was not always watching Hight and that some of his behavior took place outside her view, the News reported.

‘He’s drunk and being weird’

The drunken patron’s behavior concerned Glass enough, however, that she texted a co-worker, Timothy Banks, several times about it.

"Spencer has a big knife on the bar and is spinning it and just asked for his tab and said, 'I have to go do some dirty work,'" one of the texts read.

Glass also texted, “Psychoooooo” and “He’s drunk and being weird” to Banks, Martinez wrote.

"He just keeps saying he has to put someone in his place," Glass texted. "He was here earlier, had 2 gins and he only had 2 beers and a shot when he came back. I think he was at another bar while he was gone."

Banks arrived at the bar and talked to Hight, asking him to put the knife and gun away in his vehicle.

"Hight told Banks he needed to be extremely intoxicated to do what he has plans to do," the affidavit said.

The two men and Glass were seen on the bar’s patio in surveillance footage and, when Hight left the bar around 7:37 p.m., Banks and Glass could be seen looking for him and leaving the bar to find him, the affidavit said.

Glass, who followed Hight to his estranged wife's house, called 911 at 8:03 p.m., the document said. Martinez wrote that in the call, Glass told a dispatcher she had a friend in danger and that Hight had a gun and knife and was trying to get into Meredith Hight's house.

The first 911 call reporting gunshots came in five minutes later.

Glass admitted to serving Hight alcohol the night of the slayings and said she could tell something was wrong.

"Glass stated that Hight had to put someone in his or her place," the affidavit said. "When asked if Hight was a heavy drinker, Glass declined to answer but stated she did not see him drunk a lot."

Family and friends told the News in 2017, however, that the Hights' marriage crumbled, in part, because of Spencer Hight's drinking problem. The strain of finances and Spencer Hight's inability to get sober took its toll on the marriage, friends and family told local news media.

Meredith Hight's mother, Debbie Lane, told WFAA in Dallas that her daughter told her Spencer Hight, who had lost his job as a contract software engineer around the time they'd bought their house in 2015, had also been violent toward her on two occasions before she filed for divorce in July 2017.

Lane told NBC 5 in Dallas in May that she didn't blame Glass for her daughter's death.

"I don't blame that bartender," Lane said. "I feel badly for her that she has gotten caught up in this vortex because of an evil man."

‘Did you really have to do this?’ 

Court documents obtained by CBS DFW in 2017 detailed what police found when they arrived at Meredith Hight's home the night of the shooting. Detectives found multiple weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition at the scene.

A witness to the mass shooting told investigators she spotted Spencer Hight through a window as she stood in the home’s backyard. He was armed with a rifle, the woman said.

The witness told investigators Meredith Hight pleaded with her estranged husband before he killed her.

"Did you really have to do this?" she told him, according to the witness.

The witness said she then heard gunshots. She said she also saw Spencer Hight fire his weapon at the first officer to arrive on the scene, then heard additional gunfire.

Neighbors who hours earlier had heard the laughter and merriment of the football-watching party told reporters they heard a loud argument right before the gunfire erupted.

Lane told WFAA the cookout and football-watching party symbolized her daughter's new independence as the Hights' broken marriage neared its end. NBC 5 reported the divorce was days away from being finalized.

"It was her reclaiming her life, and she was thrilled to be doing that," Lane said. "It was the happiest she'd been in years. Years."

The Local Public House came to an agreement with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in July 2018 to give up the bar's business permit, the News reported. A new business has since taken its place.

A lawsuit filed against Glass and the bar by victims’ families was dismissed in May, the same day the arrest warrant for Glass was issued. Attorneys for the families said at the time that the dismissal was “a strategic move” and there were plans to refile the lawsuit at a later date.

The News reported that Carly Shockey, the sole survivor of the shooting, filed her own lawsuit Sept. 9 against Glass and the defunct bar's owners, Heather Livingston and Jerry Owen.

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