MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Twenty-nine-year-old Adam McCloud died in Oct. 2012 after he was beaten at a Stillwater bar.
Eric Richard was convicted of first-degree assault after punching McCloud at Smalley’s Caribbean Barbeque. According to the criminal complaint, McCloud had spilled Richard’s drink and later refused to pay for it.
After McCloud’s death, his family found that they could keep his spirit alive by helping local charities.
Supper time at the Odebrecht household brings the family together. But every so often, they can’t help but think of who’s not at the dinner table.
Tara Odebrecht, McCloud’s sister, says her brother had an undeniable magnetism.
“He was like one of those guys that as soon as he entered the room … all eyes were on him. He just filled the room,” Tara said.
Pictures and memories are all that Tara and her family have left of her younger brother. Sixteen months has not been enough time to heal from the loss caused by his death, especially since McCloud saw his parents and siblings almost daily.
Larry Odebrecht, Adam’s brother-in-law, says he was “absolutely the epitome of a family guy.” That grief is made rawer because of how he died.
Surveillance video, taken from the night at Smalley’s, shows the moment when the paths of Richard and McCloud crossed due to an accidentally-spilled drink.
At first, the video shows the two getting along. Minutes later, Richard is seen throwing punches and knocking McCloud to the ground.
Six days later, McCloud died.
“Sometimes I still think it’s hard to believe that it’s true,” Tara said.
When it was time to move forward with criminal charges against Richard, the case had an unexpected challenge, according to Washington County Attorney Pete Orput.
“We did everything we could to get justice,” Orput said.
While in the hospital, Adam was found on the floor. Investigators say he somehow had sustained another injury to his head.
Prosecutors then had to downgrade the charges when the medical examiner’s report couldn’t link his death to the beating at the bar.
“There was an intervening cause at which really threw us all off, so we had to go back to first-degree assault,” Orput said.
Yet their darkest moment offered the opportunity to help others. McCloud’s death brought life to seven people through organ donation.
“One of the recipients was a six-year-old girl who had been on dialysis and was in the hospital for two years,” Tara said.
His family is now focused on supporting LifeSource, the organ donation organization that saw the family through their toughest decision.
“You don’t realize how much of a decision it is when you’re going through it,” she said.
Adam, known by the nickname “Clouds” by so many, offered his family a silver lining with which to heal.
“We always knew we were doing the right thing at the time. We knew it was the right thing. It was just a tough decision,” Tara said. “I would say, with time and healing, I feel grateful that we were able to give that gift.”
Eric Richard was convicted of assault, and was sent to prison for six years and two months.
McCloud’s family is holding a benefit for LifeSource on Valentine’s Day, which is McCloud’s birthday, and it’s open to the public.
If you’d like to attend or help their cause, please visit adammccloudfoundation.com.