BUFFALO, NY-- A National Guardsman injured in an assault at a Buffalo bar has died from his injuries.
Buffalo Police confirmed that William Sager died Thursday.
Jeffrey Basil, the former manager of Molly's Pub, is accused of severely beating Sager at the bar in May. He was arraigned last week on an attempted murder charge.
Two off-duty Buffalo Police officers who were working security the night of the assault are currently suspended without pay, pending an investigation.
Sager, 28, served as a crew chief for maintenance on one of the C-130 cargo planes with the 107th Air National Guard unit.
Basil made bail last Friday after pleading not guilty to attempted murder, assault, and tampering with evidence charges. Friday, the Assistant District Attorney said the charges could change if Sager died.
"His intent, when he launched Mr. Sager off the landing and onto the floor below, was to kill him. This case is literally one moment away from a homicide, and now it's one moment away from a murder," said Assistant District Attorney Christopher Belling.
Basil's attorney, Joel Daniels, called an intent to kill a "major league stretch."
"What's going on at Molly's Pub at two o'clock in the morning? That's a hard core gin mill. There's two types of patrons that are there at that time. Either those that are drunk or those that are almost drunk," said Daniels.
While it is now unclear when and if those charges may change, attorney Paul Cambria says it is very likely they will.
"I think they'll do a relatively rapid indictment in the grand jury. And, they'll simply charge him with murder in the second degree. That would be my guess," says Cambria.
Cambria says the maximum sentence for that crime is 25 years to life.
Hours after his court appearance Friday, Basil posted bail, which the judge raised to $75,000.
"The question will be whether or not the judge will increase the bail. Frankly, I think there's a good argument to be made by the defense that Belling's already forecast that this was a minute so-called away from a murder, and if Mr. Basil were going to flee the jurisdiction, I think the argument's made now that he would have done so. I mean, he knew that it was impending, that it was very possible and all bail is designed to do is to have someone come to court," says Cambria.
Last Friday, the judge ordered Basil to return to court for a pre-trial hearing August 25.
Meanwhile, Sager's friends have been organizing a benefit in his honor for this Sunday at the Grand Island VFW. It is still going on, and starts at one in the afternoon.
We spoke with one of Sager's friends Thursday night who told us they want to make sure Sager's fiancée is taken care of financially. He also added that it doesn't matter whether they're in a bunker in Afghanistan or at a bar, they will always be a military family.
The attorney representing Sager's family released a statement Thursday night. Francis Letro says, "On behalf of the family of Bill Sager Jr. and his fiancé Erika Webster, it is with extremely heavy hearts that they announce that Bill passed away earlier today. While the family and Erika have been preparing for this outcome, they spoke to him daily by his bedside hoping and praying for a miracle. Bill served his nation faithfully just as he was a faithful and loving son and fiancé. There are no words to express the family, or Erika's sadness for this tremendous loss, nor are there enough words to express their gratitude to so many for prayers and words of comfort over these difficult weeks. At this time Erika and Bill's family respectfully ask for privacy as they prepare Bill for his final journey where they know he will be given a hero's welcome."
You can find out more about Sunday's benefit for Sager here: https://www.facebook.com/benefitforbillsager