Clerk Pleads Not Guilty to Selling Alcohol to Intoxicated Man

Updated: 02/02/2013 9:51 AM By: Joy Lim Nakrin

A Shakopee store clerk is facing criminal charges that no one in his county has faced in more than a decade: selling alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person.

27-year-old Ghalen Saadalia Awawda pleaded not guilty to the gross misdemeanor charge Friday morning. If convicted, he could face up to a year in prison and a $3,000 dollar fine, says Scott County Attorney Patrick Ciliberto.

Awawda is accused of selling alcohol to 52-year-old Thomas Lawrie, who was found dead in a snowbank the next morning. But Ciliberto told KSTP's Joy Lim Nakrin "what we're charging here is simply based upon the fact that alcoholic beverages where furnished, not that the store employee directly contributed in some way to his death."

Now, a civil case is brewing as well. Attorney Mike Padden represents Lawrie's only child, 21-year-old Samantha Lawrie. He says, "it would be a wrongful death claim that their negligence resulted in his death." Padden has not yet filed a formal complaint, and told 5 EYEWITNESS News he hopes to settle.