Peppers Nightclub forced to close following homicide

A man died from a gunshot head wound Monday night.
Casey Purcella / Graphic Designer

A circuit judge ordered Peppers Nightclub to be closed Tuesday following a homicide in the club’s parking lot.

Tevin K. Nelson, 21, was shot in the head Sunday afternoon, becoming part of the club's history of shootings, stabbings, assaults and other crimes, according to a news release. Nelson died from a gunshot head wound Monday night.

Boone County Sheriff's Department detective Tom O’Sullivan said this is the first shooting that led to a death at Peppers.

Peppers owner Karon Rowe’s attorney and the Boone County prosecuting attorney’s office came to an agreement Tuesday. A previously scheduled hearing for Friday where the prosecuting attorneys sought an injunction against the establishment will no longer take place.

Peppers will be closed until the property is connected to a public sewer system, according to the news release. This connection's goal is to resolve a long-standing public health issue regarding the operation of a sewer lagoon on the property. After the property is connected to the public sewer system, there will be limitations on what the property can be turned into.

According to the news release, the order will prohibit the use of the property as a bar, night club or similar gathering place, while permitting redevelopment into uses more in harmony with the surrounding neighborhood.

Rowe had to surrender her state-issued liquor license and cannot apply for a new one for at least a year. O’Sullivan said he is worried similar problems could reemerge if she gets her license back.

“I assure you we are going to monitor what is going on with Peppers, and we’re going to be keeping an eye on Karon Rowe as well,” he said.

The Sheriff’s Department is still investigating the homicide. It has followed up on leads but has not made any arrests. O’Sullivan said Rowe is going to be connected with the homicide.

“She ultimately is responsible for what goes on on her property,” he said. “We know she didn’t pull the trigger but she created an environment where this kind of activity can go on.”

Rowe also has pending charges promoting prostitution, a felony, according to a news release. After executing a search warrant in July, deputies at the Sheriff’s Department found evidence of prostitution at Peppers.

During the same investigation, evidence of food stamp fraud and illegal possession of firearms was found. The Boone County Health Department also found 23 violations at Peppers in July, causing them to temporarily shut the establishment down.

O’Sullivan said Peppers most likely would have been shut down even if the homicide did not occur.

“We had enough of a case to shut them down,” he said.

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