Man given 18-month term for assault in crowded bar

Victim had 396 stitches after being hit with beer bottle in Pasadena club

March 30, 2000|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

An Arnold landscaping foreman was sentenced yesterday to 18 months in jail for bashing a bar worker so severely with a beer bottle that it took 396 stitches to close his facial wounds.

"It should have been longer, but justice has been served," said John Payne of Linthicum, who required extensive transfusions to replace blood after an artery on the left side of his face was cut during a fight Sept. 27, 1998, at Daytona's nightclub in Pasadena.

Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Eugene M. Lerner sentenced Douglas A. Hoover, 28, to five years in prison, but suspended 3 1/2 years and added three years of supervised probation. Conditions of probation include that Hoover stay out of bars.

"What concerns me is that Mr. Hoover has a prior conviction" for battery, Lerner said.

"The message has to be driven home that you cannot do the things you have been doing," the judge said.

What happened at Daytona's was in dispute. Prosecutor Kathleen E. Evans maintained during trial last month that Hoover became agitated when another customer at the crowded club bumped into him and that he broke a beer bottle on the head of Payne, a one-time bouncer who was helping the bartender that night.

Defense attorney Michael S. Pappafotis maintained that bouncers accosted Hoover and beat him so badly -- yanking his hair and kicking him in the kidneys -- that he missed a week of work. He said Hoover was trying to protect himself when he slashed Payne.

A jury found Hoover not guilty of first-degree assault but convicted him of second-degree assault. Payne, 28, said he lost a week of work, and then returned to several weeks of light duty at a construction job, but did not return to his second job, at Daytona's, for three months.

"I never meant to do that to anybody," Hoover said as he apologized. "I'd like to have a chance to stay with my wife and my children."

Court presentence investigators recommended that Hoover be given a sentence that allowed him to continue working. Pappafotis asked for home detention, and friends and relatives pleaded with Lerner to keep Hoover out of jail to provide for his family.

Lerner said he might consider changing the sentence, though he did not say when, and encouraged the defense to request a modification.

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