Hannah arrested on suspicion of third-degree assault

Friday, February 8, 2008 | 7:03 p.m. CST; updated 11:36 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008
Stefhon Hannah

Editor's note: This story was updated at 8:06 p.m. to reflect newer information.

COLUMBIA — MU basketball player Stefhon Hannah was arrested Friday afternoon in connection with a Jan. 27 fight at Athena night club in which a worker was assaulted, Columbia Police Chief Randy Boehm said.

His arrest — on suspicion of third-degree assault — is the second arrest of an MU basketball player in seven days stemming from the fight. His teammate, Jason Horton, was arrested on suspicion of third-degree assault on Feb. 1.

Hannah’s jaw was broken in the incident.

“There was no type of weapon used,” Boehm said, “just hands and fists.”

Hannah, a guard and the team’s leader in points and assists per game, had been in Chicago since the day after the fight outside of the night club. It was not clear when Hannah returned to Columbia.

“Stefhon remains suspended from the program,” Dave Reiter, the team’s media relations representative said. “Regardless of the incident, he still remains suspended from the program.”

Hannah was suspended indefinitely on Jan. 29 along with Horton and forwards Marshall Brown, Darryl Butterfield and Leo Lyons.

Brown and Lyons were reinstated for the Tigers’ game against Kansas State on Feb. 2. Horton and Butterfield were reinstated when MU played at Kansas on Feb. 4.

On Friday night Reiter said that a statement would not be released by the team about Hannah’s arrest. Reiter also said he was unsure whether or not Hannah would be on the bench for the Tigers game against Texas A&M, which will be played at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday at Mizzou Arena.

Hannah was expected to be unable to play for four to six weeks because of his broken jaw.

According to assistant prosecutor Richard Hicks neither Horton nor Hannah have been formally charged. He said he has until March 3 to file charges against the basketball players.

Police, local DJ’s and an employee said the club at 1100 Locust St. is closed.

“One of the officers told me it was closed,” Boehm said. “We don’t know why.”

Boehm said neither the city nor the police department shut down the club.

Angelica Vigliaturo, a waitress at Nikai Mediterranean Grill who said she was fired Friday afternoon, said Thursday that the club is closed. Two other businesses also owned by Athena Entertainment Inc. in the same building — New York’s Famous Pizza and Nikai Mediterranean Grill — are still open.

“We’re getting rid of all the liquor right now (at Athena) because of all the incidents,” Vigliaturo said Thursday. Two local DJ’s, Adrian “DJ AP” Preyer and Perry “DJ Sneeze” Webb, said they had heard the club is closed, at least for now.

Athena’s liquor license was suspended on Jan. 18. Janice Finely, the Finance Department’s business services administrator, said Athena Entertainment Inc. appealed the suspension of its liquor license and can currently operate on a provisional one.

Rashid Kikhia, the president of the company, declined to comment on whether or not his night club had closed.

“I don’t know anything,” he told the Missourian on Thursday. “I can’t tell you anything, sorry.”

The night club’s liquor license is held by Daniel Veros, the vice president of Athena Entertainment Inc., according the Secretary of State’s Web site. Messages left for him at a phone number registered in his brother’s name Tuesday were not returned.

Bogden Susan, the attorney handling the night club’s liquor license suspension appeal, said he could not comment on the status of the club.

An employee who answered the phone at New York’s Famous Pizza and identified himself as a manager said that the bar is just temporarily closed for “remodeling.”

“We are doing some remodeling on the bar, just not on the restaurant,” said the manager. He refused to give his name.

Zack Ruesler, a 20-year-old MU junior who lives adjacent to the building at the Belvedere Apartments at 206 Hitt St., said he hasn’t noticed anyone at 1100 Locust St. since last weekend.

“Thursday and Friday nights were a busy time,” he said. “Now it’s pretty much no one.”

Brian Ash, who owns Bambino’s across the street from the 1100 Locust St. Building, said he too is in the dark.

“I don’t know if they’re really open or not because they always get busy after we close,” Ash said of his restaurant, which closes at 10 p.m.

Ash said that when New York’s Famous Pizza opened in early 2007, Athena was rumored to be closing.

“They claimed they were closed in the past, they claimed when they opened New York Pizza that Athena was closed. But it was New York Pizza during the day and it was still Athena at night,” Ash said. “Until I hear from the city or someone. I’m not going to believe it ... If they are closed I’d like that to be very public, because then people won’t be afraid to go over here at night.”

Boehm said that he is not anticipating any other arrests.

Missourian reporter John Juettner contributed to this report.

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