Lawyer: Death of Pa. man in Bahamas an 'accident'

FLEETWOOD, Pa. - March 18, 2014

Tyler Valles and Robert Schwartz, both members of a sport fishing crew on a boat that had stopped in Bimini, were to be released on $35,000 bail each after agreeing to return to the country for a hearing in May, attorney Wayne Munroe said. The men were charged a day earlier with manslaughter but did not enter a plea.

Munroe, a prominent criminal defense attorney in the Bahamas, described the men as shocked by their situation and still trying to piece together the confusing series of events that led to the death of Carl Yerger, a 45-year-old businessman from Ruscombmanor Township, Pennsylvania.

"Everyone, of course, is replaying the matter in their heads," Munroe said in an interview.

The men were arrested following the discovery Friday of the body of Yerger at a marina and resort on Bimini, a Bahamian island about 50 miles east of Florida that is a sport fishing and diving destination. Asst. Commissioner Emrick Seymour of the Royal Bahamas Police Force had said the men fought when Yerger tried to board their vessel.

Yerger owned a milling and consulting business in Pennsylvania and was reportedly in Bimini on a business trip. He had two young sons and led the Oley Valley Youth League, a sports association in his community.

Munroe said that prosecutors believe Yerger was intoxicated when he tried to get onto the boat late at night and was removed by the captain and Valles, a 19-year-old from Key Largo, Florida.

After several attempts by Yerger to get on board, Valles went to get help from the resort's security. As he left, he picked up a filleting knife off the dock to keep it away from Yerger, Munroe said, citing the prosecution's account.

The attorney said that Yerger "attacked" Valles and that Schwartz, a 62-year-old from Gaylordsville, Connecticut jumped in to help. All three struggled on the ground, at which point Yerger was accidentally stabbed.

At the time, apparently no one had noticed that Yerger had been stabbed and they all thought the incident was over. Now injured, Yerger got up and walked back to the resort and the other two men went back to the boat, the lawyer said.

The court set a hearing date for May 19 for the formal presentation of the indictment. Munroe said a trial would likely be more than a year away.

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