STATESBORO, GA Oct 18 2016— A former bar bouncer and Georgia Southern University student pleaded guilty Tuesday to the beating death of an 18-year-old fellow student and recent South Forsyth High School graduate.
Michael Gatto, 18, died after he was beaten, then thrown from Rude Rudy's, a bar in Statesboro, by Grant James Spencer on August 27, 2014.
Spencer was off duty at the time, but was asked to remove Gatto from the bar, according to testimony. Instead, Spencer struck Gatto several times before leaving him unconscious outside the bar.
Both men had been drinking, police said at the time.
Spencer pleaded on Tuesday to a charge of voluntary manslaughter. Superior Court Judge William Woodrum sentenced him to 20 years in prison.
Under a plea deal, Spencer no longer faced the original charge of felony murder, which could have landed him in prison for the rest of his life.
Gatto died of skull fractures and blunt force trauma, according to prosecutors.
His death resulted in at least one new state law. Called"Michael's Law" by its backers, legislation filed in the wake of Gatto's death now requires bar patrons and employees to be at least 21 years old, as well as requiring more training for bouncers and other bar staff.