A malicious wounding incident on July 4 in the parking lot of Elsie's Magic Skillet, 8166 Richmond Highway, that resulted in one party having his eye removed, was certified for Grand Jury action Monday in Fairfax County General District Court.
In a case brought by the Commonwealth of Virginia on behalf of the plaintiff, Charles Gaythen Bryant, III, 42, of Woodlawn, against Michael J. Plues, 41, of Woodlawn Manor Court, Alexandria section of Mount Vernon District, Bryant testified he was assaulted in the restaurant parking lot after stopping to make holiday plans with his girl friend, Jennifer Anderson, a waitress at the establishment.
Anderson stated following the incident, she had dated Plues prior to Bryant. Elsie Plues, mother of the defendant, owned the restaurant when the confrontation occurred. It has since been sold. Although under new management, the name remains "Elsie's Magic Skillet."
Plues, was arrested by Fairfax County Police July 11 and charged with "malicious wounding and making telephone threats." After being brought before a Mount Vernon District Magistrate, he was released on $6,000 bond.
He remains free pending action by the grand jury which meets the third Thursday of every other month, according Circuit Court clerks. The next meeting will not be until October, they said.
The confrontation commenced with Plues allegedly attacking Bryant with a baseball bat in the parking lot prior to his entering the restaurant, according to Bryant's testimony Monday. "He hit me in the shoulder and rib cage," Bryant said. He also testified that he received a cut near the center of his forehead.
"I took the bat away from him and struck his truck with it," Bryant testified. He then stated he went into the restaurant with the bat, put it on the counter and went into the restroom to clean the blood off his face.
WHEN HE EMERGED from the restaurant to leave the premises, Bryant testified Plues attacked him again with an object he thought was an umbrella. "I didn't see him coming," Bryant said earlier in the investigation. It was in the second confrontation that Bryant suffered the injury to his eye.
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department EMS personnel and local police were called by Anderson, she stated at the time. Bryant was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital where physicians determined the eye was so extensively damaged it had to be removed, Bryant said upon his discharge.
At the time of filing criminal charges, Bryant called the attack "premeditated," based on a telephone call he allegedly received from Plues on June 27. He [Plues] "threatened to take a baseball bat to my head and kill me," Bryant said. It was that call that police included in the arrest warrant as "making telephone threats."
Bryant had said earlier that the threats in the telephone call were based on his dating Anderson. "That's why I think this whole thing is premeditated," he said upon his release from the hospital.
Initially police had listed the incident as disorderly conduct based on a "mutual combat situation." But, they had not observed the severity of Bryant's wound at the scene because the paramedics had already transported him to the hospital by the time officers arrived at the restaurant.
When they became aware of the full nature of the confrontation and Bryant's injuries, the police report was changed to "malicious wounding" and a warrant was issued for Plues' arrest. That occurred on July 11, according to police records.
Plues has maintained his innocence stating previously, "I didn't do this. I was attacked by this guy (Bryant). I'm totally innocent." He continued to maintain his innocence Monday in the hallway of the courthouse after the hearing.
During cross examination, Plues' attorney asked Bryant if he had threatened Plues by saying he was going to get a gun. Bryant answered, "No. I don't own a gun."