Cops probe bar death

BRISTOL – Township Trustee Doug Seemann said when he heard that someone had been fatally stabbed at a bar Thursday night, he didn’t recognize the name. By Friday afternoon, Seemann connected Craig C. Neighbor’s name with his face.

It turned out that township resident Neighbor, 41, had been a regular customer of Edna’s Market, which Seemann co-owned.

“I realized when I saw him that he used to come into the store all the time. He was always nice. He was a real personable guy,” Seemann said.

An argument at the Bristol Inn Bar at 6233 state Route 45, at the intersection of state Route 88, ended with Neighbor’s death.

Police were called to the bar around 9 p.m. after receiving reports that two men had gotten into an argument and that one had stabbed the other. Neighbor was taken to Trumbull Memorial Hospital.

Officials on Friday confirmed that he had died. The Trumbull County Coroner’s Office said an autopsy was performed Friday.

William J. Helmuth, 45, also of Bristol, is facing a murder charge and is being held at the Trumbull County Jail. Helmuth left the bar after the stabbing and was apprehended later, according to reports.

Police records indicate that Helmuth and Neighbor have each had minor brushes with police officials.

The Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office is investigating. Deputies provided little information Friday and did not release an initial incident report. They referred all calls to the Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office. Charles L. Morrow, the assistant prosecutor handling the case, was not available for comment on Friday.

Seemann said township officials and residents are “deeply saddened and startled” by what happened at the bar Thursday night.

Seemann said he is not familiar with Helmuth.

Trustee Ramon French, along with Seemann and other township officials, said they are not aware of any significant problems at the bar in the past.

“We haven’t had any complaints from the community about the place. There’s really been nothing, no problems really at all that I’m aware of. Definitely nothing like this, nothing this serious or of this magnitude,” Seemann said. “Like I said, I think we are all just very startled by this.”