The two men accused of attacking a 26-year-old man early Saturday outside a Columbus gas station convenience store admitted in court this morning that they were drunk, but denied the assault occurred.
Jeffery C. White, 46, and Jeffery D. Lowe, 45, each pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated assault, loitering and disorderly while intoxicated during their 8 a.m. Recorder's Court appearance. White is also charged with battery with physical harm.
The two men are accused of verbally harassing and physically assaulting another man outside the Money Back Food Store, 4499 Warm Springs Road.
The victim was in court to face his alleged attackers. During the proceedings, a Columbus police officer testified that the victim suffered bruising to his neck and cuts to his elbows from the tussle.
It all began about 2 a.m. The victim was pumping gas when Lowe and White approached him and asked for a ride. Lowe started the conversation with a string of harassing comments about the victim's height, according to court testimony.
When the victim declined to give the men a ride White allegedly punched him in the throat. Police said he then pulled the victim down to the ground as Lowe allegedly danced around and yelled, "Let's kill him. Do you want me to kill him? Can I kill him?"
As White punched, Lowe motioned like he was going to pull a weapon from beneath his shirt, police said in court. All three men ended up on the ground at one point.
The younger man thought he was going to get shot so he shook free of his attackers and ran inside the store where the clerk locked the doors and called 911.
Once police arrived on the scene they located the two suspects stumbling out of the Shanty Shack night club at 4475 Warm Springs Road. Both men had bloodshot eyes and were clearly intoxicated, a police officer testified.
When police approached them outside the club White and Lowe became hostile and denied having been near the Money Back store that night. They later admitted they went to the store to buy cigarettes, police said.
White and Lowe were escorted back to the Money Back where the victim identified them as his assailants. Neither of the men had a firearm on them, police said. Upon their arrest, both men proceeded to yell and curse at the victim and officers.
When given the opportunity to speak on his behalf in court, Lowe denied being physically involved in the altercation. "I never put my hands on that man what-so-ever," Lowe said.
White said, "I want to apologize first because I was drunk ... My actions were wrong as far as being drunk and intoxicated." He went on to say, "I didn't threaten to kill that man."
On the charge of aggravated assault each man was assessed a $5,000 bond. For the battery charge, White was given a $100,000 bond. The other charges carried several days of jail time suspended upon payment of a few hundred dollars.