Fight between two Columbus homeless men likely to result in murder charge, police say

Donald Butler
Donald Butler Muscogee County Jail

A fight between two homeless men earlier this month has resulted in one man being dead and the other facing charges, according to authorities.

Donald Butler, 34, appeared in Columbus Recorder’s Court Thursday morning on aggravated assault charges, steaming from a May 11 altercation at Fourth Avenue and 35th Street. Timothy Paschal 31, was seriously injured in the fight, police said. Paschal had been in intensive care at Piedmont Medical Center since May 11. He was pronounced dead late Wednesday afternoon by the Muscogee County Coroner’s Office.

Columbus police Detective Darrell Middlebrooks told the court that Butler will likely face murder charges, pending the autopsy results. Paschal’s body is being sent to the Georgia state crime lab for an autopsy, according to Coroner Buddy Bryan.

Based on a prior aggravated assault conviction, Judge Julius Hunter ordered Butler held without bond and sent the case to Muscogee County Superior Court. He also ordered Butler to undergo a mental evaluation. The two began fighting and Butler struck Paschal four times, Middlebrooks told the court.

“He then put him in what he called a ‘submission hold,’” Middlebrooks testified. “He held him in that position until he passed out.”

When police and medical personnel were called, Paschel was unresponsive and in “grave condition,” on Fourth Avenue. During the 12-day stay in ICU, Paschal never regained consciousness, Middlebrooks said.

Chuck Williams: 706-571-8510, @chuckwilliams