New Charges Filed In Resort Manslaughter Case

SNOW HILL — New charges, including manslaughter and other lesser counts, have been filed against a West Ocean City man for his role in the death of his long-time friend outside a downtown Ocean City bar last January.
George Doran Nottingham, 48, was again indicted last week on charges of manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, affray and alcoholic beverage-intoxicated and did endanger for his role in the death of Michael E. Post, 39, outside the Harbor Inn early in the morning last Jan. 26. Nottingham was charged early this year with manslaughter and assault following an incident outside the Harbor Inn on Somerset Street last January.
Nottingham was first tried in August, but after an emotional trial that took most of the day, a Worcester County jury deliberated for several hours deep into the evening before returning without a verdict. The hung jury could not come to a clear decision in the friendly altercation that went terribly wrong and a mistrial was declared.
He was scheduled to appear for a new trial earlier this month, but the charges against him were dropped just days before that scheduled appearance. The Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office said in a release just three days after the charges against Nottingham were dropped new charges were pending.
“Unable to reach a unanimous verdict in August, a jury sitting in the Worcester County Circuit Court was excused after a day of deliberations,” the release reads. “Since then, the Office of the State’s Attorney for Worcester County has been working diligently to strengthen the case against Mr. Nottingham. Testimony and evidence at trial has formed in part the basis for the new charges.”
The State’s Attorney’s Office explained the dropping of the charges against Nottingham earlier this month were largely procedural. On Dec. 10, the charges against Nottingham were entered as “nolle prosequi.”
Last Wednesday, Nottingham was again indicted on the new charges. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Jan. 15 with a new trial date tentatively laid in for March 3-4.
Around 1:30 a.m. last Jan. 26, Nottingham and Post were among friends at the Harbor Inn when Nottingham dropped his cell phone on the bar floor. Post and others scooped up the dropped phone and kept it from Nottingham as he became more and more agitated. At one point, bar surveillance video shows Nottingham throwing bar stools, a move the prosecution characterized during the trial in August as rage, while the defense characterized the bar-throwing as Nottingham simply looking on the floor for his phone.
The bartender, Herbert “Buddy” Groff, intervened when a pushing and shouting match ensued between Nottingham and Post, an altercation he characterized at trial in August as horseplay between two longtime friends, and instructed Post to go out the front door and Nottingham to remain behind for a few minutes in an attempt to diffuse the situation.
Post did go out the front door and lingered around, while Nottingham remained inside. About five minutes later, when it appeared the 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 inside and outside of the establishment captured the entire episode and there was little doubt after viewing the sequence pieced together chronologically by the OCPD forensic team of the events that led to Post’s death.