Annapolis tavern keeper Francis "Bones" Denvir was signing paychecks in his upstairs office when a liquor bottle came crashing against his head. Hit more than 25 times, much of his head had to be rebuilt.
"I'm like the bionic man," Denvir said Friday while a Circuit Court jury weighed the evidence against a man accused in the beating. "I've been put back together."
After deliberating for two hours Friday and six hours yesterday, the jury found 35-year-old Brady G. Spicer guilty of assault with intent to murder in the Feb. 22, 1990, attack upstairs in Armadillo's, a downtown Annapolis restaurant and bar.
The ruling elated Denvir, who says his eye sockets, ears and jaw had to be reconstructed after the attack.
"The damage, physical and mental, that's been done to me and my family are irrevocable," Denvir said. "What we had here was a chance to see that this didn't happen to someone else's family."
Denvir, 46, of Arnold, says he was hospitalized for three weeks and was out of work for 10 months. Friends conducted a fund-raiser at the bar to help pay his portion of about $250,000 in medical bills.
Spicer, of the 1100 block of Madison St. in Annapolis, shook his head when the jury announced its verdict. He faces up to 30 years at his sentencing, set for July 7. Judge Eugene M. Lerner ordered Spicer jailed without bond pending sentencing.
As he was led away in handcuffs, Spicer maintained his innocence.
"There's been a miscarriage of justice," he said. "I can't believe it."
Denvir never saw his attacker, but he and his friends and family said they are sure the jury convicted the right man.
The crime remained unsolved for more than a year, until a man arrested on unrelated charges offered information on the attack in return for leniency. Spicer was then charged with assault with intent to murder, assault with intent to maim, assault and battery, and attempted felony theft. Lerner tossed out the attempted theft charge before the jury began its deliberations.
In closing arguments Friday, prosecutor Steven M. Sindler reminded the jury that a restaurant employee had identified Spicer as the man who went upstairs and assaulted Denvir. And, arguing for a conviction on the most serious charge of assault with intent to murder, Sindler said, "It can be no doubt that when a man hits a man over the head more than 25 times, he intended to kill him."
James S. Salkin, an assistant public defender representing Spicer, told the jury the prosecution had not proved its case. He said the testimony of the police informant was not credible, and he said his client did not match the physical descriptions given of the suspect immediately after the attack.
And, pointing out that money was left in the office, he suggested that someone with a vendetta against Denvir was responsible for the attack.
"Somebody was after the victim in this case, and it's not my client," Salkin said. "You can feel all the sympathy you want to the victim. You can't remedy it by convicting an innocent man."
Glendora Spicer, the defendant's wife, said afterward, "That's a terrible hit, to do time for something you didn't do. This system is really messed up."
Brady Spicer had been released a week ago after serving a year in prison on drug charges, his wife said.