Image: Ashley "A.J." Jewell and ex-fiance Kandi Burress
By Rhonda Cook
Atlanta police charged a strip club employee with voluntary manslaughter Saturday in the beating death of the former fiancé of the newest member of the reality television show The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
Ashley “A.J.” Jewell, who was engaged to Kandi Burruss until last August, died of massive head injuries at Piedmont Hospital. He was fatally injured in a "one-on-one" fight with Fredrick Richardson Friday night, police said.
Richardson also was injured as the two exchanged blows outside the strip bar, the Body Tap Club, Friday night. Richardson was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital where he will remain until doctors say he can be discharged. Then Richardson will be taken to the Fulton County Jail, according to police spokesman Officer James Polite.
The hospital would not release Richardson's condition, but police said he is conscious and alert.
Polite said detectives were still “trying to figure out [what happened]. We had a pretty good number of witnesses that are being cooperative.”
But the cause of the fight in the parking lot of the club in the 1200 block of Marietta Boulevard was still not known Saturday, Polite said.
Jewell was part-owner of Body Tap, a club popular with celebrities.
Burruss was flooded with condolences on her social networking pages on Twitter.com and MySpace.com.
Burruss thanked friends for their condolences and asked for prayers for Jewell’s six children.
But she asked to be left alone. “im just in one of those moods where i dont wanna talk, i dont wanna b held & told its gonna b ok. i just wanna cry myself 2 sleep, alone,” she wrote on a Twitter.com post.
She also posted that she had to get some rest before her uncle’s funeral on Saturday.
Kim Zolciak, a fellow "Housewives" castmate, said in a phone interview from California Saturday morning how "disgusted" she was that someone could take a life like this.
"My heart and prayers are with Kandi, AJ's children and family," she said. "I can't imagine the loss they're feeling. I'll be there for my dear friend Kandi."
Zolciak added, "I adored A.J. He will definitely be missed."
Burruss, who has a daughter, joined the other Atlanta "housewives" this season as they focus on their status, their clothes and who’s arguing and why.
Jewell, as Burruss’ fiancé, appeared occasionally the show. In some episodes the 33-year-old Burruss argued with her mother over her relationship with Jewell.
Burruss is an award-winning singer-songwriter and a solo performer. She was a member of the now-disbanded R&B group Xscape.
According to an interview last month with the entertainment Web site Essence.com, Burruss and Jewell had taken a “hiatus” from their relationship but remained friends while they worked on their issues.
This story courtesy of the AJC.