A little over a year ago, boxing veteran Emanuel Augustus (formerly known as Emanuel Burton) was shot in the head in Baton Rouge after departing his local gym, temporarily leaving him in a coma. Augustus, although surviving the shooting, has been suffering from lingering health issues since then, including hearing and memory problems which have seemingly ended his boxing career.
A 23-year-old man named Christopher Stills had been charged with attempted manslaughter and felon in possession of a firearm and was set to begin trial last week, but the charges against him were dropped by prosecutors after a judge denied them a continuance.
Police said Augustus was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time as he walked past an argument between Stills and another man when shots unexpectedly rang out. Augustus was later found on the roadway with a pair of boxing gloves sitting nearby.
District Attorney Hillar Moore III asked the judge for a continuance citing that a witness to the shooting had died last June and that they were unable to locate Augustus. The charges can be refiled against Stills if other witnesses come forward or if additional evidence is found. But Stills' attorney, Gail Ray, said that she doubts that charges will be refiled against her client due to the lack of evidence.
"I don't think they'll be able to. There was only one person who claimed to be a witness and that person is deceased," Ray said Monday. "I'm sure if they had sufficient evidence, (the judge) would've given him a continuance."
Augustus himself said that he was unaware of the court hearing last week and was upset to find out the charges had been dismissed. He also questioned prosecutors claims that they were unable to locate him, sarcastically saying:
"How is it that the police can't find the victim, but you guys can," he said to the WBRZ crew who was interviewing him and his fiancée for a story. "I don't get it. Did I get shot by this guy or didn't I?"
Augustus, despite his 38-34-6 record, was perhaps best known as "The Drunken Master," credited for his highly entertaining style of boxing and willingness to take on top opposition on a moment's notice. Floyd Mayweather often cites his 2000 fight with Augustus as being the most difficult of his entire career, which is certainly high praise coming from the surefire Hall of Famer.
I mentioned in my original article on this story that if anyone would be able to survive such a tragedy, it's Emanuel Augustus. And despite his lingering health issues, I'm definitely happy to hear that he's pulled through, even if justice has not been served for him.