Suspect in ‘Housewives' ex-fiance death: ‘I'm the victim'

The strip club manager charged in the death of Ashley "A.J." Jewell spoke publicly about the case for the first time Monday, saying he feared for his life while fighting with the former fiance of "Real Housewives of Atlanta" cast member Kandi Burruss.

"[Jewell]'s not the victim. I'm the victim," Frederick Richardson, charged with voluntary manslaughter, told the AJC. A motion to dismiss the case was denied Monday by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Karen Woodson.

An autopsy released by the Fulton Medical Examiner found that Jewell had a rare sickle cell trait that was the primary cause of his death. Still, the Fulton medical examiner ruled his death a homicide, and Fulton District Attorney Paul Howard has agreed to the exhumation of Jewell’s body and a second autopsy to confirm the sickle cell trait.

That autopsy has yet to happen. Jewell's father, Rev. A.B. Jewell Sr., is convinced his oldest son did not die because of sickle cell.

"I know it's not true," Jewell Sr. said Monday before the court proceedings. He sat one row behind Richardson, who's out on bond.

The Oct. 2 fight in the parking lot of the Body Tap, according to police, was the final conflict in an ongoing feud between the two men as they struggled for control at the west Atlanta strip bar. Police said Jewell, who was purchasing an interest in the club,  may have started the fight because he didn’t think he was getting enough respect from Richardson.

"I thought he was on drugs," Richardson said Wednesday. He said Jewell pulled a gun on him in his office then followed him outside to the parking lot, where the two exchanged blows. "I was concerned for my life," Richardson said.

Howard has said his office will decide if Richardson will be prosecuted based on the findings of a second autopsy. Defense attorney Dennis Scheib challenged Howard to go ahead and indict his client.

"If you're going to fight [the motion to dismiss], then go ahead and indict him," Scheid said.

In the meantime, Richardson said his life is in limbo. He's unable to get a job and said he's forever tainted by the manslaughter charge.

"[People] aren't hearing both sides," he said.

Jewell's father said he's also been disappointed with the way his son's case has been handled. "Things have not gone according to what we hoped," he said.

Scheib said he will continue to push for a dismissal.

"[Richardson]'s got to have his day in court," he said.