Cohasset man is charged with killing brother-in-law when he put him in headlock at birthday party

A 45-year-old East Dennis man who was celebrating his birthday with family “got out of control and had to be subdued” and died during the process, according to the defense attorney representing the man’s brother-in-law, who is charged with manslaughter in the case.

“It’s a tragedy,” said Robert Harnais, who represents John McDonough.

McDonough put David Hoelzer in a headlock during the struggle, according to a police report filed in the case.

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McDonough, 45, of Cohasset was arraigned today in Quincy District Court in the death of David Hoelzer. He also faces an assault and battery charge.

Wearing a blue suit with a light blue tie, McDonough stared downward, looking very tired during the arraignment. Judge Paul McCallum set bail at $15,000 cash.

Cohasset police responded to McDonough’s home on King Street in Cohasset at about 8:50 p.m. Tuesday and found Hoelzer unresponsive. Hoelzer was transported to South Shore Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:52 p.m., prosecutors said in a statement.

Cohasset police and detectives from the district attorney’s office are investigating the case.