Police: Texas bartender over-served man who later killed 8, including estranged wife

Credit: Plano Police Department via AP, AP Photo/LM Otero

Credit: Plano Police Department via AP, AP Photo/LM Otero

A Texas bartender who served alcohol to a drunken man who later went on to kill eight people, including his estranged wife, in a 2017 mass murder has been arrested in the case, according to police.

Lindsey Megan Glass, 27, of Plano, is accused of violating the state's "sale to certain persons" law when she served Spencer James Hight, 32, on the night of Sept. 10, 2017. After leaving the Local Pub House, the Plano bar where Glass worked, Hight went to the home he once shared with Meredith Emily Hight, 27, and gunned her down, along with seven friends she'd invited over for a Dallas Cowboys football-watching party, police officials said.

Spencer Hight’s other victims, who included some of his own close friends, were Anthony Michael Cross, 33; Olivia Nicole Deffner, 24; James Richard Dunlop, 29; Darryl William Hawkins, 22; Rion Christopher Morgan, 31; Myah Sade Bass, 28; and Caleb Seth Edwards, 25.

A ninth person was injured but survived the shooting. Spencer Hight was shot and killed by police at the scene.

Court documents obtained by NBC Dallas-Fort Worth indicate Spencer Hight's blood alcohol concentration was 0.33 at the time of his death, more than four times the legal limit. 

The law Glass is accused of violating states that a person commits the offense if they, "with criminal negligence, sell an alcoholic beverage to a habitual drunkard or an intoxicated or insane person." She faces up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $500.

Glass' lawyer, Scott Palmer, noted to WFAA in Dallas that the warrant against his client was issued the same day that a civil lawsuit filed against Glass by some of the victims' families was dismissed. Attorneys for the families said the dismissal was "a strategic move" and there were plans to refile the lawsuit at a later date. 

"Lindsey Glass is the person who called 911," Palmer said in a written statement to the news station. "Not only did she know Spencer, but she was friends with Meredith and was supposed to be at the party that evening. In her interviews with detectives, they commended Lindsey for her action and that she saved lives that day.

“It is shameful of the Plano Police Department to go after the person who was vital in trying to stop the horrific events of that evening. This arrest is not in the interest of justice and appears to be a last-ditch effort by the Plano PD to make someone pay.”

A probable cause affidavit details the case against Glass.

‘He’s drunk and being weird’

Plano police Detective Paul Martinez, who was lead investigator on the case, wrote in the affidavit that Hight went to the Local Pub House twice prior to the mass shooting at his former home. During his first visit, he had two well gins, the document says.

During his second visit, he had two beers and a shot. Surveillance camera footage from the bar shows Glass served him the drinks.

"The video also shows Spencer Hight's walk to be unsteady and running into tables," the affidavit says.

The footage shows Hight spinning a large knife on the bar, the document says.

See portions of the bar footage below, courtesy of WFAA.

"The video also shows Spencer Hight pulling out a gun from his right front waistband area in the presence of Glass," the affidavit says. "Affiant's investigation indicates the gun to be a black .380 Ruger firearm."

Hight’s behavior concerned Glass enough that she texted a co-worker, Timothy Banks, several times about it.

“Spencer has a big knife on the bar and is spinning it and just asked for his tab and said, ‘I have to go do some dirty work,’” one of the texts read.

Glass also texted, “Psychoooooo,” and “He’s drunk and being weird,” to Banks, Martinez wrote.

"He just keeps saying he has to put someone in his place," Glass texted. "He was here earlier, had 2 gins and he only had 2 beers and a shot when he came back. I think he was at another bar while he was gone."

Banks is seen on the surveillance footage arriving at the bar and talking to Hight. Court documents obtained by CBS Dallas-Fort Worth in September 2017 indicated that Banks made Hight put the gun and knife in his vehicle.

The two men and Glass are seen on the bar's patio and, when Hight leaves the bar around 7:37 p.m., Banks and Glass are seen looking for him and leaving the bar to find him, the affidavit in Glass' case says.

Glass, who followed Hight to his estranged wife’s house, called 911 at 8:03 p.m., the document says. The first 911 call reporting gunshots came in five minutes later.

When Banks was interviewed by detectives after the massacre, he said he arrived at the bar that night to find Hight drunk.

"Hight told Banks he needed to be extremely intoxicated to do what he has plans to do," the document says.

Banks told police Glass called 911 after finding Hight at his estranged wife’s home. Martinez wrote that in the call, Glass tells a dispatcher she has a friend in danger and that Hight has a gun and knife and is trying to get into the house.

Credit: Vernon Bryant/Dallas Morning News via AP

Credit: Vernon Bryant/Dallas Morning News via AP

Glass was interviewed by police Sept. 13, three days after the murders. Martinez wrote that as a bartender, Glass had been trained and certified by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to identify intoxicated patrons and avoid selling them alcohol.

Her certification lapsed 10 days prior to the shooting. She renewed it two days after the murders, the detective wrote.

Glass admitted to serving Hight alcohol the night of the slayings and said she could tell something was wrong.

"Glass stated that Hight had to put someone in his or her place," the document says. "When asked if Hight was a heavy drinker, Glass declined to answer but stated she did not see him drunk a lot."

‘Did you really have to do this?’

Family and friends, however, told The Dallas Morning News after the tragedy in 2017 that the Hights' marriage crumbled, in part, because of Spencer Hight's drinking problem.

Those who knew the Hights said they lived for one another in the first years of their marriage. The couple met in 2009 when they attended the University of Texas at Dallas.

They married in 2011 and exchanged vows the following May on a Jamaican cruise, their loved ones said.

"Spencer lived in the apartment downstairs from her," Meredith Hight's mother, Debbie Lane, told WFAA. "When she was 20 years old and decided that she and Spencer were going to be married, we knew there was no dissuading her."

Eventually, the strain of finances and Spencer Hight’s inability to clean up his life took its toll on the marriage, friends and family told local news media. Lane said her daughter told her Spencer Hight, who had lost his job as a contract software engineer around the time they’d bought their house in 2015, had also been violent with her on two occasions before she filed for divorce in July 2017.

"She told us he was an alcoholic and that she worked for two years to try and help him," Debbie Lane told WFAA.

“We said, ‘All right, we’re behind you 100%,” Meredith Hight’s father, Gene Lane, told the news station.

Despite the alleged violence and the sour turn their marriage had taken, Meredith Hight had not sought a restraining order against her husband, who moved out of the house in March 2017. She was not afraid of him, Lane told the News.

"I wish she had been," Lane said.

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The court documents obtained by CBS Dallas-Fort Worth in 2017 detail what police found when they arrived at Meredith Hight's home the night of the shooting. Detectives found multiple weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition at the scene.

A witness to the mass shooting told investigators she spotted Spencer Hight through a window as she stood in the home's backyard. He was armed with a rifle, the woman said.

The witness told investigators Meredith Hight pleaded with her estranged husband before he killed her.

"Did you really have to do this?" she told him, according to the witness.

The witness said she then heard gunshots. She said she also saw Hight fire his weapon at the first officer to arrive on the scene, then head additional gunshots.

Other witnesses from the neighborhood, where the partygoers’ laughter and joy were heard just hours before, told reporters they heard a loud argument before Hight pulled out a gun in the backyard of the home and opened fire.

Spencer Hight killed some of his own friends that night, the News reported. One of those friends, Rion Morgan, had served as a groomsman in the couple's September 2011 wedding.

James Dunlop was Spencer Hight's best man on the Jamaican cruise where the couple tied the knot, the newspaper saidWFAA reported that the Hights, Morgan and Dunlop were friends from school.

Dunlop also let Spencer Hight live with him for several weeks after the couple split up.

Debbie Lane told the news station the cookout and football-watching party symbolized her daughter’s new independence as the Hights divorced.

"It was her reclaiming her life and she was thrilled to be doing that," Debbie Lane said. "It was the happiest she'd been in years. Years."

The Local Public House came to an agreement with the TABC in July 2018 in which its owners did not admit any wrongdoing, but agreed to cancel the bar's business permit, WFAA reported. A new business has since taken its place. 

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