Conflicting witness statements, other issues involved in decision

The Kern County District Attorney said there is not enough evidence to file charges against Lyndon Faagau in connection with the death of Billy Joe Burell Jr.

Burell, 42, was fatally injured on July 5 when he was pushed to the ground during a fight on the 600 block of Center Street.

Deputy District Attorney Andrea Kohler notified Burell's family there would be no prosecution.

Kohler told the Taft Midway Driller that a lack of evidence of intent, plus conflicting witness statements and evidence of mutual combat all added up to the decision not to charge Faagau.

He was arrested after Burell's death but released the next day without being charged.

“This was not a prosecutable case,” she told the Midway Driller Thursday.

Burell and Faagau were involved in a fight in the street in the 600 block of Center Street.

Kohler said her office was told by one witness that the fight started in Buckolies, but there are other statements that it may have started outside or elsewhere.

“There were essentially two groups of people fighting,” Kohler said. During the fight, Burell, 42, was pushed to the ground and suffered a fatal head injury.

Just what led up to the fight and Burell's death is still in dispute.

“We got conflicting witness statements,” she said.

The D.A. 's investigation included review of video of events leading up to the fight, interviews with witnesses and reviewing Taft Police investigative reports.