2 to be tried in chili beating, stabbing

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Detroit — Two people were bound over for trial Monday on assault with intent to murder along with several other charges after their alleged victim vividly recounted suffering a violent beating, stabbing and biting attack over a boiling pot of chili

Jacob Rogers, 26, and Kimberly Richardson, 36, allegedly attacked visitor Michael Williams around 6:15 a.m. Jan. 7 in their home on the 19200 block of St. Mary Street on the city’s west side.

Police earlier identified the defendants as husband and wife.

Williams was attacked after he stirred a pot of chili and turned down the oven top heat to keep the meal from burning, he said in court Monday. He was alone in the kitchen while the defendants argued in another room.

A fourth individual, identified in court as Anthony Ross, also was elsewhere in the home, Williams said.

Judge Shannon Holmes on Monday granted the prosecution’s motion to add the assault with intent to murder charge after testimony alleging the use of a 7 to 8-inch knife and an order for large dog to kill the victim.

“From start to finish, these two beat this man to a pulp,” Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Lara Nercessian said in arguing for the new charge.

Defense attorneys argued the dog never heeded any order to attack, but Holmes indicated the situation could be compared to a hypothetical shooting victim surviving what should have been a fatal shot.

“As the court stated, it’s irrelevant whether the dog attacked,” Nercessian said. “What’s relevant is the defendant’s intent when he ordered the dog to attack.”

Holmes denied Nercessian’s request to change an unarmed robbery charged to armed robbery.

The defendants also are charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm, felonious assault, aggravated assault, and assault and battery. They are due back in court Feb. 16.

Their bonds were raised to $25,000 cash/surety from $7,500, 10 percent after Nercessian revealed Williams allegedly has received calls from the defendants’ family members, threatening his safety.

“You’re not helping them,” Holmes said in open court toward family members seated in the gallery, including one woman who audibly objected to the accusation of threats. “You’re hurting them, and you’re hurting yourself.”

The motions came after lengthy testimony by the victim, who accused the defendants of stabbing, stomping and strangling him. He also alleged the pair ordered their large dog to kill him.

“I was stomped like I was nothing,” he said of the attack. “I didn’t think I was going to make it.”

The attorney for Rogers indicated more details would be revealed at trial.

“There’s a lot more to the story; you can’t always believe the short story,” Phyllis Gayden-Robinson said after the hearing. “It’ll come out at trial.”

The altercation happened after Williams stirred the boiling pot of chili, he said on the stand.

“I put the spoon down on the stove, I turn around, and that’s when Jacob Rogers came into the room,” Williams said.

Rogers immediately accused Williams of spitting into or poisoning the chili, according to Williams’ testimony.

“I was trying to diffuse the situation,” he said. “I was apologetic, I was just trying to help. I didn’t want (the chili) to burn.”

Rogers then demanded Williams’ wallet, claiming the victim owned him for a new batch of chili. Williams brought out his cell phone to text Ross but was prevented by Rogers, he said.

“He snatched the phone out of my hand,” Williams said. “He said ‘You’re not calling the police.’ He put (the phone) in his pocket.”

The physical attack began after Williams refused a second time to hand over his wallet, he said.

“When I wouldn’t give him my wallet, that’s when he began swinging at me,” Williams said.

Richardson then allegedly joined in the attack, dragging Williams by his hair into the living room.

“I’m on the couch, and she’s on top of me, strangling me,” Williams said. “I’m trying to take her arms from around my neck so I can breathe. I see (Rogers) with a knife, and he stabs me in the thigh.”

As Rogers pulled back to stab Williams a second time, Ross entered the room and pulled the kitchen knife from his hands, Williams said.

But the attack wasn’t yet over, with Richardson continuing to strangle the victim as Rogers bit down on his forearm.

“It was like a pitbull,” Williams said. “He latched onto my arm.”

Williams then stood up in court, rolled up the sleeve of his bright yellow sweater, and revealed a full set of teethmarks scarred into his skin.

The attack moved outside the home and into the snow, where Williams spotted the lights of a police car down the block, he said.

“I’m thinking they’re coming to help me, but they never came,” he said.

The attack continued outside while Ross stood by, neither participating in the attack nor intervening, Williams said.

The victim eventually escaped and made his way to the officers seated inside the police car at St. Mary and Seven Mile Road.

“They seen I was covered in blood,” he said.

The officers called an ambulance and Williams was transported to Sinai-Grace Hospital, where he spent several hours seeking treatment for injuries including a fractured rib, concussion and bite marks. He received a tetanus shot and antibiotics for the bites, he said.

“My face was unrecognizable,” he said of the swelling.

Lasting affects of the alleged attack include anxiety, post-traumatic stress symptoms, and feelings of inadequacy, Williams said.

On cross examination, Williams repeatedly denied taking drugs the evening of the attack but acknowledged drinking a glass of wine. He also denied that Rogers ever asked him to leave the residence.

“I asked to leave,” Williams said. “I said, ‘Let me go.’”

Richardson’s attorney on cross examination attempted to get Williams to admit to striking his client, who he said had a black eye after the incident. The judge struck the attorney’s revelation from the record.

“I don’t recall striking her,” Williams testified. “What I do recall is protecting my face from the blows I was receiving.”


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