Manslaughter Charges Dropped Against Suspect in Fatal Beating

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Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings has dropped involuntary manslaughter charges against Austin Smith after a jury deadlocked a second time.

Smith, 33, was accused of taking part in the beating death of a Lansing man. 30-year-old Travis Peterson was beaten to death in the early morning hours of New Year's Day, 2012 after he left a downtown Lansing bar.

Smith was working security for the Brannigan Brothers bar that night.

In a statement issued by Dunnings, he said he was dropping the charges even though he stands by the decision to bring them.

"In our criminal justice system," said Dunnings, "The jury is the supreme authority. We have now had two separate trials that each ended in a hung jury."

Another suspect in the beating death, 36-year-old Donald Suttle, Jr. was convicted last year of second-degree murder in the case and is serving 33 to 50 years in prison.

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