​Jeffrey Basil pleads guilty to first-degree manslaughter in Molly’s Pub murder


Jeffrey Basil, a former Molly’s Pub manager, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the death of William Sager Jr. on Tuesday morning. Basil was originally found guilty of second-degree murder in January, but the conviction was overturned due to a juror not disclosing her military background and arrest record.

Basil’s plea negotiated a 15-21 year sentence and five years of post-release supervision.

Basil pushed Sager down a flight of stairs in Molly’s Pub, a once popular bar in the University Heights, in May of 2014. Sager, an Air National Guardsman and Iraq war veteran, suffered a traumatic brain injury and was in a coma and later died in July. Basil was also found guilty of tampering with evidence after security footage of the bar was found in a nearby trashcan.

Molly’s Pub has been closed ever since the night of the murder.

Robert Eloff was one of two off-duty Buffalo police officers working security at the pub the night of the incident and faces two felony charges and a misdemeanor charge that could send him to prison for over 20 years.

Blake Lamagna, a UB student and former bartender at Molly’s, testified in the trial after working the night of the incident. UB professor William Kinney testified by using his physics background to examine the force and timing of the push to quantify intent.

Basil’s sentencing is set for July 22.

Gabriela Julia is the senior news editor and can be reached at gabriela.julia@ubspectrum.com