Witness: Joseph G. Brandtner
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Date of Encounter: 1976-77
During the day I worked at WQED-TV in Pittsburgh. I had a second job as the door man in a local gay bar called the Holiday Bar in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. It was a Monday night. As door man, I was off that night. But the employees had to show up after 9 PM to get their pay envelopes. I was there by 8:30 PM. One daily regular customer that we called, "the Baron" because of all of the gold chains he wore, was already there. Baron usually arrived at opening at about 4:30 PM. Long about 9 PM, the Baron was getting to be his usual boisterous self, becoming belligerent and vulgar with customers. My boss said to me, "Get off your ass, miss thing and do your job!" I said, "I'm off tonight! I'm just here to get my pay!" My boss replied, "Get him out of here, now!" So, I confronted the Baron and told him he had to leave. He became combative. I applied a common Aikido wrist hold and marched him out through the front door. Once on the sidewalk, I wished him a good night and patted him on the back.
The following Friday night I showed up for work at 10 PM as required. My boss greeted me at the bar, his face ashen white and his demeanor quite subdued, he said, "There's someone in the kitchen who wants to speak to you."
That turned out to be a homicide detective. He showed me a picture of the Baron asking, "When was the last time you saw this guy?"
I replied, "Monday night. I was here to pick up my pay envelope as were all of the employees. My boss made me put him out."
The Detective became angry and yelled, "It couldn't have been Monday night!"
I yelled back, "Why not?"
He yelled back at me, "Because he was murdered on Saturday night! Somebody beat him up and parked his Thunderbird on his chest!"
I answered, "I put him in a wrist lock and marched him out the front door on Monday night!"
My boss and I looked at each other and simultaneously said, "I need a drink!"