The Orange County Registry reports that the trial of Jeffery David Kirby is set to begin regarding the March of 2009 death of Tapout co-founder Charles “Mask” Lewis Jr. Kirby stands accused of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, fleeing the scene of an accident, and other sentencing enhancing offenses.
Kirby’s defense is expected to allege that it was the victim’s own reckless driving that led to the crash. This defense will prove problematic as Kirby was more than twice the legal limit to drive at the time of the crash and due to prior arrests of driving under the influence for Kirby.
Another issue for Kirby is testimony from a Newport Beach Police Officer that states Kirby admitted to speeding up to Lewis’ Ferrari in order to show off the Ferrari to his date.
Kirby faces 18 years in state prison if convicted and has been held on $500,000 bail since the night of the accident. Kirby faces a sentencing enhancement for the injury to Lewis’ girlfriend, Lacy Linn White, who was severely injured in the crash after being ejected from the Ferrari.
Lewis was an icon in the MMA world where his top hat, face paint, and jovial attitude endeared him to fans of the sport. His tenacity and vision helped raise TapouT from selling shirts out of a van to the multi-million dollar label it is today. Lewis was posthumously inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame July of 2009.