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Busch not charged in ear-biting

ST. LOUIS -- An heir to the Anheuser-Busch fortune will not be charged for biting off most of a man's ear in a weekend bar fight because he did not start the scuffle, prosecutors say.

'It appears that the victim was the primary aggressor in the fight,' assistant prosecutor Lawrence Mooney said Monday.

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William Kurt Busch, the 22-year-old son of brewery tycoon August A. Busch Jr., told police he bit Jeff Hografe's ear early Saturday as they struggled outside H.P. Cassidy's Saloon.

Busch told police the fight started after the 19-year-old from Dittmer, Mo., accused him of cheating in an arm-wrestling match with a friend.

James Skaggs, the tavern manager, told police someone in the crowd surrounding the two men started the fight by pushing Busch into Hografe. When he challenged Busch to fight, the youth allegedly said, 'Bet you couldn't beat one of us farm boys.'

The crowd began chanting, 'Bite him, bite him,' Skaggs told police. A witness said the skirmish was a 'fair fight' until Busch bit Hografe's ear.

Police Lt. Fred T. Crawford said only the lower lobe of Hografe's ear was left attached. The youth was reported in satisfactory condition at St. Anthony's Medical Center.

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The prosecutor's office said neither man was intoxicated. Mooney said no charges would be filed against Hografe either for fighting or for under-age drinking.

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