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Misdemeanor charge for armless artist in death

An armless Georgia artist has turned himself in to face a misdemeanor charge in a fight with a man who died after the scuffle over a woman in which the artist head-butted and kicked his rival.
/ Source: The Associated Press

An armless artist has turned himself in to face a misdemeanor charge in a fight with a man who later died.

Police say William Russell Redfern, who has won recognition for drawings he does with his feet, head-butted and kicked Charles Keith Teer during a Sept. 17 fight over a woman. Teer complained of dizziness and collapsed.

A medical examiner determined last week that Teer likely died of a heart attack. The autopsy showed Teer had serious heart disease and coronary artery blockages.

Police Chief Roy Whitehead said investigators decided against felony charges but felt Redfern should be punished for the fight.

Redfern, who was born with no right arm and a stump below his left shoulder, turned himself in Tuesday on a charge of affray. He was released Wednesday on $1,213 bond, a jail official said.

The misdemeanor charge is likely the only legal action Redfern will face, Whitehead said.

"We reviewed (the case), talked with everyone involved and felt like that was an appropriate charge," he said.

The fight stemmed from bad blood over a woman who once dated Teer and now dates Redfern, authorities said.

Known by the nickname "Rusty," Redfern made a name for himself in the late 1980s for pen and ink drawings he does using his foot.

According to the Web site for VSA Arts — an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts that promotes and showcases artists with disabilities — Redfern's drawings take one to six months to complete.

He was one of six Georgians who represented the state at the 1989 International Arts Festival in Washington and was commissioned by Georgia's then-Secretary of State Max Cleland for a series of illustrations depicting the state capitol.

According to the site, he started Redfern Originals Inc. in 1987, producing Christmas cards, stationery and limited-edition prints.