Victim's family demands answers from Red Rock murderer
Family members of Red Rock Lounge stabbing victim Mike McCoy looked his killer in the eyes on Monday and demanded that he answer one question: Why?
They got a response, but not the one they were hoping for.
In a monotone, Britt Bones, 40, read from a prepared statement at his sentencing in Josephine County Circuit Court, apologizing to the family and saying he doesn't remember what happened at the nightclub the night of March 22, when he stabbed 25-year-old McCoy in the head, fatally wounding him. McCoy was airlifted to Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, where he died two days later.
"I am deeply sorry for not having an answer for my actions that evening," Bones told the family.
He pleaded guilty to a murder charge in November and was sentenced Monday to 25 years to life in prison.
Bones claimed he is not a violent person, and that he was "horrified and disgusted" by his own behavior that night. As he spoke, there were sniffles among a small group of Bones' supporters in the courtroom.
"It has been devastating for both families and there are no words to explain my remorse," Bones said.
The stabbing happened in the bar area of the Red Rock Lounge around 11:30 p.m. By all accounts, Bones and McCoy didn't know each other before that night, and no one is aware of any interaction between them before Bones suddenly lunged at McCoy. The attack was caught on video by a bar security camera.
Bones' defense attorney Laurie Norman said Bones briefly lost consciousness when he was kicked in the head after stabbing McCoy, which may have affected his memory.
"He thought he was in a fight, and we could see from the video that he was not," she said.
Red Rock Lounge bouncer Jason Griffin said outside of court after Monday's hearing that there were about 100 to 150 people at the nightclub that night and a DJ was playing music. He said Bones was standing at the bar when — seemingly out of the blue — he whipped around and attacked McCoy, who was standing behind him.
"There was no fight," Griffin said.
He said he initially thought Bones had punched McCoy, but later learned McCoy had been stabbed. As Griffin stepped in, Bones tried to stab him, too. During the scuffle, a patron kicked Bones in the head, but Griffin said that if Bones lost consciousness it was only for a matter of seconds.
Bones fled from the bar, and Griffin chased him to the Black Bear Diner, where he hopped a fence and got away. Bones was arrested the day after the stabbing, when police served a search warrant at his home in Selma, where there was a large marijuana growing operation.
McCoy, a shovel operator at the Swanson sawmill in Glendale, was a newlywed with a baby on the way at the time he was killed. His wife, Audrey, gave birth to a little girl, Emily Rose, the week after he died.
More than two dozen of McCoy's friends and family members attended Bones' sentencing hearing. Sentencings are typically conducted in a courtroom at the jail, but the expected crowd was so big that the hearing was moved to the Josephine County Courthouse.
Grants Pass police Detective Archie Lidey and prosecutor Matt Corey helped the family place enlarged photos of McCoy and of his infant daughter in the front of the courtroom where Bones could see them before the family took turns addressing him.
"This is the face of the boy you murdered in cold blood, and we still don't know why you chose to do it," McCoy's stepfather, Fred Uggla, told Bones.
Bones was seated about 6 feet from the lectern where family members were allowed to speak. Shackled and wearing a dark-blue, short-sleeved jail jumpsuit, tattoos covering his arms, Bones watched Uggla, sometimes bowing his head.
"Twenty-five years was an entire lifetime for Mike. I hope it is an eternity for Britt," Uggla said.
McCoy's twin, Nick, then spoke, saying his life was forever changed by his brother's death.
"When I smile, it's fake. When I laugh, it's fake," he said.
When Rosy McCoy approached the podium, Uggla stood beside her with his arm around her shoulders.
"If I had just one wish, it would be for a stairway that reached up to heaven so I could bring you home," she said of her son. "I love you, Michael. I hate you, Britt Bones."
The Red Rock Lounge, which had been the site of frequent disturbances and occasional violence, shut its doors in April after the owners voluntarily relinquished the bar's liquor license.
Reach reporter Melissa McRobbie at 541-474-3806 or email@example.com.