Massachusetts man who fatally struck co-worker behind Portland hotel charged with manslaughter

PORTLAND, Maine – A short argument between members of a construction crew ended when one man fatally struck the other in Portland in November, authorities said.

Robert Clarke, 35, of Braintree, Mass., Now faces a manslaughter charge in the death of Elliott Fama, 44, of Wilmington, Mass., The Portland Press Herald reported on Monday.

Clarke and Fama traveled to Portland with two other colleagues as part of a Massachusetts-based construction crew, according to police records. They had dined and were hanging out behind the Howard Johnson Hotel in South Portland, where they were staying. Clarke and Fama exchanged punches and punches after one refused to share a cigarette with the other.

Clarke eventually reached the foreman of the crew standing between the men and punched Fama in the head. Video footage of the fight shows Fama appeared to immediately pass out and fall, the newspaper reported. After undergoing surgery and several days of treatment in a hospital, Fama passed away.

Clarke was originally charged with assault, but a grand jury entered a manslaughter charge on December 11, the newspaper reported. Clarke’s attorney, Daniel Wentworth, said he had no intention of harming or killing Fama.

“They were two friends, they had known each other for a decade,” Wentworth told the newspaper. “It was a very tragic event, and Robert had absolutely no intention of this outcome.”

An obituary for Fama says he is survived by his wife and three stepchildren among many family and friends.

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Sandy A. Greer

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