Jeffrey Basil sentenced to 18 years in prison for Molly’s Pub murder

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Jeffrey Basil, a former manager of Molly’s Pub, was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Wednesday morning in the death of William Sager Jr.

Basil pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter after he pushed Sager down a flight of stairs in Molly’s Pub – a once popular University Heights bar among UB students that is now closed – in May of 2014. Sager, an Air National Guardsman and patron in the bar that night, suffered a traumatic brain injury and died in July 2014.

Both a UB student and UB professor testified in Basil’s trial back in January. Blake Lamagna, a senior communication major, testified after working as a bartender the night of the murder. William Kinney, a physics professor, was called in as an expert witness for the prosecution to determine the physics of Sager’s fall and prove intent.

Basil was originally convicted of second-degree murder in his original trial in January, but the verdict had to be thrown out due a juror not disclosing her military background and arrest record.

Robert Eloff, one of two off-duty Buffalo police officers working security at the bar the night of the murder, recently pleaded not guilty to civil rights violations in a federal court. The charges, which are deprivation of rights under the color of the law and conspiracy to deprive an individual of rights under color of the law, stem from Eloff’s handling of Sager after Basil pushed him down the stairs. Eloff and fellow officer Adam O’Shei remain suspended from the police force.

Molly’s Pub has remained vacant on Main Street after the owners of the property terminated the lease and the New York State Liquor Authority suspended the bar’s liquor license.

Tom Dinki is the editor in chief and can be reached at tom.dinki@ubspectrum.com