Murderer is back behind bars following St. Augustine bar fight

James Stanford, 53, arrested during traffic stop

James Stanford
James Stanford (St. Johns County Sheriff's Office)

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A man already on probation for second-degree murder is now accused in a bar fight, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

James Stanford, 53, got into an argument Sunday night with a man playing pool at Pelican Pub in St. Augustine, and then Stanford called for backup, deputies said.

When his “backup” arrived, Stanford and the other, bigger men reportedly jumped the victim and another person inside the bar.

Witnesses said Stanford was playing pool with a woman. They were having a few beers when the dispute with the man started, and it took about 15 minutes for Stanford’s friends to arrive and for the fight to ensue, witnesses told officials.

A bartender called 911 just before 9:30 p.m. to report the fight, and Stanford and his companion took off, heading south on A1A in a truck.

When one of the men involved tried to take a photo of Stanford’s license plate, someone jumped on the truck’s tailgate as if to block the plate, according to the arrest report.

As deputies spoke with witnesses, a sergeant with the St. Augustine Police Department pulled Stanford over. Investigators said as Stanford exited his Toyota Tacoma, he had to steady himself on the truck.

When asked if he had been drinking, Stanford told deputies he had two beers.

“James had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from his person, and slurred speech,” the arrest report said.

During the traffic stop, deputies learned Stanford was on probation in St. Johns County for second-degree murder. Officials arrested him and booked him into county jail, where he is now being held without the option to post bail.

As special conditions tied to Stanford’s probation, he wasn’t allowed to use of alcohol or drugs.

The man who was jumped refused medical attention and was adamant that he did not want to pursue charges or complete an affidavit, deputies said.

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