Songwriter Fagan remembers lost friend

Oct. 25, 2009 at 12:43 PM
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NASHVILLE, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- U.S. country songwriter Rich Fagan says he wants his life to honor his publisher-friend Tom Oteri who died of a heart attack after Fagan cut him with a knife.

The (Nashville) Tennessean reported Sunday while Fagan did not face prosecution for Oteri's death on April 26, 2008, the songwriter holds himself responsible.

"Part of me died that night, too, but it wasn't the good part," Fagan told The Tennessean during an interview in Nashville. "If I'm here for a reason, it's to carry on Tom's legacy."

Fagan has written a string of top hits recorded by country music stars, including "Americana," "Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)," "Be My Baby Tonight" and "I Miss You a Little."

The official cause of death for Oteri was listed as a heart attack, not the knife cut on his wrist inflicted by Fagan, and the publisher's family members maintained they did not want Fagan to be prosecuted.

Fagan, who was high on antidepressants and tequila the night of the fight, was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol shortly afterward. He later pleaded guilty and spent time in a rehabilitation treatment center.

"The last drink I had was that evening," Fagan told The Tennessean. "I haven't had one since, and haven't had the obsession to have one."

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