A 56-year-old man involved in a physical altercation with his brother Sunday died after suffering a heart attack. Now, 63-year-old Lonnie Laningham, could see his charges related to that incident upgraded to murder.
The fight between the two brothers broke out in the 4700 block of Alma Street, near Weber and McArdle. Laningham was charged with manslaughter, but that charge could be upgraded.
Nueces County District Attorney Mark Skurka said ultimately, Laningham's fate is in the hands of the Grand Jury, who will base their decision on two things -- intent and causation.
The victim, 56-year-old Larry Laningham, suffered a heart attack right after the fight. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
"Just because a person is booked for one charge doesn't necessarily mean that's the charge the Grand Jury will indict for," Skurka said. "If you intentionally and knowingly kill somebody, that's murder. If you recklessly kill somebody, that's manslaughter."
In this case, the jury will have to decide if Lonnie beat up his brother Larry with the intent to kill him, and if the injuries sustained in the physical fight were contributing factors to the fatal heart attack. The Nueces County Medical Examiner said the assault left trauma on his body, but will need to further investigate if Larry had any pre-existing conditions or health issues that could have caused the heart attack to happen unrelated to the fight.
When it comes to time behind bars...
"It's a significant difference betewen manslaughter and murder," Skurka said.
If somebody is convicted of manslaughter, they will serve between two and 20 years in prison; but if somebody is convicted of murder, that time goes up to between five and 99 years in prison, or life. That decision is in the hands of a Grand Jury.