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Streator man found guilty in bar fight trial

On Monday, a Streator man was found guilty of causing a Peru man's death last year in a La Salle bar.

Chief Judge H. Chris Ryan Jr. found Dezzan D. Phillips guilty of aggravated battery and involuntary manslaughter. Ryan found Phillips punched 28-year-old Nicholas Puyear in his temple, which knocked him down and killed him Nov. 10. Phillips opted to have Ryan decide guilt or innocence, instead of a jury. Sentencing is Friday, May 25.

Prosecutor Greg Sticka said several witnesses saw the 26-year-old Phillips punch Puyear, but no one reported seeing Puyear hit Phillips. The two men had been at odds over a woman in the bar, who had been Puyear's on-again, off-again girlfriend, and was flirting with Phillips.

Phillips' attorney, Assistant Public defender Ryan Hamer, argued it was not clear who struck the fatal blow to Puyear, because during the altercation between the pair, the bar erupted into a melee. Hamer suggested Puyear could have been killed by a kick to his head, after he was on the floor, delivered by someone other than Phillips.

Phillips is being held without bond in the La Salle County Jail.

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