By JODI POSPESCHIL
The Peoria Journal Star
The family of a Bushnell man who was fatally beaten in 2004 at a Bushnell tavern has been awarded more than $3.5 million by a McDonough County jury.
The award was returned after a two-day jury trial in Macomb last week in the lawsuit over the death of Anthony “Andy” Fosdyck, 35. The multimillion-dollar judgment is believed to be the largest ever in McDonough County and was given to widow Venice Fosdyck of Bushnell and her two children.
The judgment came against Earl’s Place tavern, where Fosdyck was beaten. He died in October 2004 at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria one day after he was punched and kicked by Marty Shanks, 32, of Bushnell. Shanks later pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder and is serving a 16-year prison term in Taylorville. He is scheduled for parole in July 2012.
Shanks also forfeited his $25,000 bond for Fosdyck’s medical and funeral expenses and for court-related costs, such as his court-appointed attorney.
After Fosdyck’s death, a civil lawsuit was filed against Shanks, Earl’s Place and the Jenny Wren Club, a Bushnell tavern where Shanks was believed to have been before the fight.
The Jenny Wren Club settled its portion out of court in 2007 for $5,000, and Shanks was dismissed as a defendant shortly before the trial began.
The fight at Earl’s Place began because Shanks was repeatedly asking Fosdyck’s wife and sister-in-law to dance.
Police previously testified Shanks struck Fosdyck in the face several times, then began kicking him in the head with his work boots once Fosdyck fell to the floor.
Patrons of the tavern jumped in to break up the fight, then called 911 because Fosdyck was unconscious. Fosdyck’s cause of death was listed as blunt force trauma to the head and he suffered a tear in the artery at the base of his brain.
Fosdyck family attorney M. Tod Melton of Morrison said Monday he believes the civil suit verdict was fair.
“The facts of this case were pretty egregious,” Melton said. “There is absolutely no amount of money a jury could have returned that would give Venice Fosdyck and her family what they really wanted.”