Southside Grill bartender enters not guilty pleas

Southside Grill bartender enters not guilty pleas

A Southside Grill bartender entered written not guilty pleas on Monday to several charges, including one for serving alcohol to a 19-year-old who later the same night died in a double-fatality accident in April.

Court records show Jacoba Knight, of Milford, in Third Judicial District Court entered not guilty pleas to a count of employee supplying alcohol to a person under the legal age, another count in a second case of employee supplying alcohol to a person under the legal age and a count in a third case of providing alcohol to an intoxicated person.

Authorities in affidavits said all three charges stemmed from incidents that occurred at Southside Grill, an adult entertainment club in Spencer, at about 10 p.m. on April 26.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office last month announced the three charges against Knight, including one for serving alcoholic beverages to 19-year-old Alfonso Adrian Maldonado, of Graettinger, without determining whether he was of the legal age.

Maldonado was the driver in an accident that occurred at about 11:45 p.m. that same night at the 280th Avenue and 350th Street intersection near Dickens. He later died at Spencer Hospital. A passenger, 21-year-old Tephonte Alan Smith of Estherivlle, died at the scene.

According to an affidavit, Knight told authorities she assumed the bar’s bouncer had checked Maldonado’s ID, so she did not. Knight said she did serve alcohol to Maldonado.

Knight also faces charges of supplying alcohol to 18-year-old Mackenzie Kamstra, a dancer at Southside Grill. The sheriff’s office has stated Knight knew Kamstra was under the legal age.

Knight is scheduled to appear August 28 in Clay County Magistrate Court for a pretrial conference.

The charges Knight faces were filed after authorities reviewed surveillance footage seized from Southside Grill after they had received a search warrant.

The Spencer City Council denied Southside Grill’s liquor license on June 4, citing allegations of indecent exposure, over-serving and underage people being served alcohol.

Southside Grill is a gentlemen’s steakhouse that has seminude entertainers. Iowa code regarding public indecent exposure states establishments like Southside Grill cannot allow their employees to expose their nipples or genitals.

Bar owner Christopher Burg has taken steps toward legal action against the city.

Southside Grill can remain open and continue to serve alcohol during an appeal to the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division.

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