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$1.8M York County court judgment over death, and $5K in food goes to the needy

Food donation stems from York County punch death lawsuit judgment

Through their lawyers, the family of Odell Fields of Rock Hill donated $5,000 worth of food to Pilgrims' Inn charity Tuesday. Fields was killed by a single punch outside the Sandbar Bar and Grill in Rock Hill in 2014, and later his family was awar
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Through their lawyers, the family of Odell Fields of Rock Hill donated $5,000 worth of food to Pilgrims' Inn charity Tuesday. Fields was killed by a single punch outside the Sandbar Bar and Grill in Rock Hill in 2014, and later his family was awar

What happens when a restaurant’s food is seized in a $1.8 million wrongful death lawsuit?

The food is donated to the needy right before Christmas.

The family and lawyers of Odell Fields donated $5,000 worth of food Tuesday to Pilgrims’ Inn, a Rock Hill nonprofit that serves the poor.

Fields died in 2014 after he was punched outside the Sandbar Bar & Grill in in Rock Hill.

The food was part of the contents in the Sandbar Bar & Grill, which owes more than $800,000 of the $1.8 million judgment ordered by a judge to be paid to the family of Odell Fields. Deputies seized the contents of the bar in late November for a 2018 auction to pay off part of the judgment. However, deputies needed a court order to give away the food that was part of the seizure. That court order came late Monday and by Tuesday the food was delivered.

The staff at Pilgrims’ Inn were brought close to tears as Joel Hamilton, one of the lawyers for the Fields’ family, carried in box after box of canned goods and frozen food. Hamilton and fellow Fields’ lawyers, David Manzi and Jason Burgess, along with volunteer Donnie Brice, collected the food Tuesday from the Sandbar and delivered it to Pilgrims’ Inn.

“The family of Odell Fields wanted to help others any way they could. We are thrilled to help out Pilgrims’ Inn with this donation that will help the people of our community,” said Hamilton, a partner at Schiller and Hamilton law firm. “This is what they wanted, to help people in Rock Hill.”

Johnny Fields, Odell Fields’ son who grew up in Rock Hill but now lives in Illinois, said by telephone that his father, a Purple Heart recipient wounded twice in Vietnam, was a longtime supporter of Pilgrim’s Inn and spent his life helping people.

“Our family knows what great work Pilgrims’ Inn does for people and we are so proud to be a part of helping others,” Johnny Fields said. “We hope that families, children, are helped.”

One million dollars of the court judgment is against Eric Cobb who threw the punch that killed 65-year-old Odell Fields. The fatal punch, thrown outside the bar, was caught on video, and Cobb was seen celebrating. Cobb, 34, is serving a 15-year sentence after pleading guilty to manslaughter.

But Tuesday’s food donation was not about death. It was about joy, and help, and love. The donation was a welcome surprise for Pilgrims’ Inn, which serves as many as 45 families with food each day.

“A lot of tummies will be filled by this generosity,” said Jennifer Gullatt, community services coordinator for Pilgrims’ Inn. “And at Christmas when so many families are struggling.”

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