A Texas man is facing criminal charges after an argument with his veterinarian father-in-law turned deadly inside a Fort Worth bar.
Online jial records confirm that John Birdwell, 38, has been charged with injury to an elderly person with intent with serious bodily injury following the August 12 attack on 66-year-old Dr. Robert Bearden at Woody’s Tavern.
Birdwell posted a $75,000 bond for his release. Attempts to reach him by phone for comment were unsuccessful Monday.
Bearden, who was a veterinarian at VCA Mercedes Place Animal Hospital in Benbrook, died at the hospital on August 13, PEOPLE learns.
Bearden and Birdwell had met at Woody’s Tavern to discuss the latter’s reluctance to sign divorce papers.
Birdwell is married to Bearden’s daughter, Katie, and the two are in the process of ending their marriage; she filed for divorce in late November.
According to an arrest affidavit obtained by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the fatal 18-second attack was captured by the bar’s surveillance cameras. John Birdwell. Tarrant County Jail
A witness explained to police that Bearden told Birdwell he was unhappy with him for stalling the divorce and urged him over and over to sign the papers.
The witness reportedly noted Bearden was not aggressive during the argument, but that at some point, Birdwell grabbed him and head-butted him three times.
Both men fell, the affidavit alleges, according to the Star-Telegram.
Bearden was unresponsive and was bleeding from the head. His son-in-law managed to flee the scene despite efforts by other patrons to hold him there. The affidavit alleges Birdwell bit one of the patrons on the chest and left.
Bearden died the following evening at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth. Dr. Robert Bearden. VCA Mercedes Place Animal Hospital
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office determined his death was a homicide caused by blunt head trauma.
Birdwell was arrested on August 18. That same day, his wife filed for — and was granted — an order of protection against him, the paper reports.