Now, 17th Judicial District DA Dave Young has declined to press charges against the bouncer in the incident, saying he doesn't believe he could prove criminality beyond a reasonable doubt.
This decision incenses Jocelyn Pickel, Sammy's sister, who has publicly branded her brother's death a murder.
And this Friday, a protest is planned for the venue, with attendees expected to call for a boycott.
As we've reported, Sammy and his girlfriend, Suzette Meacham, had been an item for almost three years. Their relationship was marked on Facebook by photos such as this one....
...and this one....
...as well as this playful shot:
No surprise that they were together at Lodo's around 12:30 a.m. on March 13, when trouble came knocking.
At a press conference yesterday, Young, citing interviews with around thirty witnesses and video from Lodo's, says Sammy got into a heated exchange with a group at the bar; Meacham earlier maintained that a woman had slapped him on the behind.
Shortly thereafter, Sammy is said to have shoved someone.
At that point, four bouncers approached and ordered Sammy to leave.
He allegedly refused and shouted obscenities, then got into a fighting stance and took a swing — at which point the bouncers jumped on him.
7News quotes Young as describing the bouncer who used the chokehold as being around 5' 11" and 200 pounds, as compared to Sammy's 6' 5" height and a weight around 370.
Meacham originally estimated that the chokehold lasted three to five minutes. However, Young, as quoted by Fox31, said video expected to be released next week shows the actually amount of time was under three minutes — "probably much less.... Now, if it was a ten-minute chokehold, maybe our analysis would be a little different.”
As for Sammy, he was unconscious when the bouncer let go — and he died from his injuries a couple of days later.
In the wake of Young's decision, Meacham told 7News, "I think that is ridiculous. The cause of death was asphyxiation. They killed him."
Jocelyn Pickel was even more outspoken in a Facebook post. It reads:
This is a joke!!! End of story.... You call murder self-defense?! Regardless of what their intentions were, they killed my brother. He died at Lodo's and NO ONE did ANYTHING to try to save him. Everyone that was there that night with Sammy should be ashamed of themselves. If I was there I would of saved you, Sammy, I would of done anything to prevent this from happening to you.She also shared a link to a Facebook event for what's described as a "Protest and Boycott for Sam." Taking place from 5 to 10 p.m. at Lodo's, 3053 West 104th Avenue in Westminster, the gathering is introduced like so:
Today the District Attorney decided to not press charges on the bouncer who choked out and killed Sam Pickel. Let's get everyone to boycott LoDo's. Let take a stand on his behalf and let the community know that this is not ok. Let's stand together on 104th in front of LoDo's with signs showing support for Sam and his family.... Justice for Sam.For more information about the rally, click here.
Please makes signs as well! Please include #justiceforsam or #samstrong on it so that people know what to look for!
Look below for reports about Young's announcement from Fox31 and 7News.