2nd Manslaughter Trial Postponed

SNOW HILL — A West Ocean City man accused of manslaughter in the death of his longtime friend outside a downtown Ocean City bar last January will have to wait a couple more months to learn his fate after his second trial was postponed this week.
George Doran Nottingham, 48, of West Ocean City was scheduled to appear for trial on Thursday to face charges of manslaughter and assault for the death of Michael Post, 39, of Ocean City. Nottingham was charged earlier this year following a “playful incident among friends” outside the Harbor Inn on Somerset Street on Jan. 26 that ended in tragedy.
After an emotional trial in August, a Worcester County jury deliberated for several hours before returning without a verdict. The hung jury, a diverse group including men and women of various ages and races, could not come to a clear decision on the friendly altercation that went terribly wrong and a mistrial was declared. A new trial was scheduled for Thursday, but that trial was postponed again because another jury trial was scheduled for the same courtroom on the same day. A new trial for Nottingham has now been scheduled for Dec. 10.
Around 1:30 a.m. on Jan. 26, Nottingham and Post were among other friends at the Harbor Inn when Nottingham dropped his cell phone on the bar floor. Post and others scooped up the dropped phone as Nottingham became more and more agitated. A brief altercation ensued inside the bar, an altercation characterized by the defense in the August trial as horseplay between two old friends.
The bartender instructed Post to go out the front door while telling Nottingham to remain behind for a few minutes in an attempt to diffuse the situation at closing time. Post did go out the front door and lingered around while Nottingham remained inside. About five minutes later, when it appeared tensions had cooled, Nottingham went out the front door and ultimately swatted Post in the head with his left hand, causing Post to fall to the sidewalk and strike his head. The force of the fall caused a fracture of Post’s skull and he suffered a subdural hematoma that ultimately claimed his life on the icy, snow-covered sidewalk in front of the bar.
The Harbor Inn’s 16 high-tech video cameras captured the entire episode from start to finish and there was little doubt after viewing the sequence pieced together by the OCPD forensics team of the events that led to Post’s death. What was at issue, however, for the jury in August was the intent and whether it fit the definition of manslaughter. After deliberating for hours, the jury could not reach a decision and a new trial was scheduled.