CANTON — The Jasper man charged with murder in the death of construction worker Leon Paul Danzis at a Canton bar last week had a first appearance in court Friday.
Gary Matthew Allen, 31, of Jasper appeared before Chief Magistrate Judge James Drane at the Cherokee County jail in a hearing witnessed by members of Danzis’ family. During the hearing, Allen told Drane he understood the charges against him and said he had hired his own defense attorney. A public defender represented him at the hearing Friday.
Danzis, 45, of Winder was a construction worker who was in Canton to work a job and didn’t know anyone in the area, his sister Chrissa Danzis Gordon said following the hearing. “It was stranger on stranger,” she said of her brother’s death. “I just want my brother back.” She was one of six family members who attended Allen’s first appearance hearing.
Allen was arrested and charged late Wednesday morning with murder, aggravated assault and murder while in commission of a felony. Canton Police Department spokesman Pacer Cordry said Allen was arrested following witness interviews. Allen remains in the jail without bond.
Canton police were called at about 10:15 p.m. June 28 to a report of an altercation at Canton Ice House, 150 Keith Drive. Danzis was injured in the fight and taken to Northside Hospital Cherokee where he was later pronounced dead. Witnesses said he had been hit in the head with a pool cue.
Danzis’ family scheduled a memorial service for him at 7 p.m. Friday in Lawrenceville. In addition to his sister, he is survived by his mother and two sons.