Shane Wayne Michael Des Moines Iowa man sentenced 10 years jail for coughing and spitting on Mark Denning during dispute over correct face mask protocol at eye store.
An Iowa man who assaulted a fellow customer at an eyewear store after being asked to wear his face mask correctly has been sentenced to 10 years jail after removing it entirely and coughing and spitting in the victim’s face.
‘If I have it, you have it!’ Shane Wayne Michael told Mark Denning during the attack, intimating he had infected him with the COVID-19 virus.
Both men were at the Vision 4 Less eyewear store in Des Moines on November 11 of last year when Denning, 60, allegedly asked the 42-year-old to secure his face mask over his nose as Michael had pulled his mask down slightly, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reports.
Michael alleged that it was Dinning who instigated the assault, claiming Dinning ‘shoulder-checked him’ and ‘poked him in the stomach’ once the two men left the store, according to the Dispatch.
He told police that the fight eventually went to the ground with both men wrestling one another. Michael said he had him pinned to the ground when Denning bit his arm, which he countered by poking his finger in Denning’s left eye.
Declined two year probation deal
However, a witness named Bob Darr, as well as a store employee on scene, both told responding officers that Michael had initiated the confrontation by following Dinning out of the store before attacking him and spitting in his face.
Denning suffered a swollen left eye with Dinning later stating in a Facebook post that the attack almost caused him to lose his left eye according to the Washington Post.
Cops arrested Michael and charged him with assault causing bodily injury.
Polk County prosecutors offered him a plea deal in February, which would have allowed Michael to enter a plea of willful injury causing bodily harm, a lesser charge that would have gotten him just two years of probation according to The Des Moines Register.
Michael rejected the prosecutor’s plea deal before deciding upon a jury trial, with charges being upgraded to willful injury causing serious injury, a far more serious offense.
Michael was found guilty on April 1 at trial, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the class C felony on Wednesday, according to Polk County court records.
The court also temporarily waived a fine of $1,370 in consideration of his impending incarceration.
Michael’s family members spoke out about the lengthy prison sentence, which they claimed was inordinately harsh given the nature of the crime, according to his father and wife.
‘It’s like (Dinning) got a black eye in a bar fight, and now my son is getting 10 years in prison,’ Michael’s father, Dennis Michael told the Capital Dispatch of Wednesday’s sentencing.
Meanwhile, Michael will leave behind six grown children and his wife, Becky, who told the local news outlet that she doesn’t know what she is going to do without her husband for the next 10 years.
‘He’s my rock, he’s my protector,’ she said. ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do without him. I’m lost without him.’
Michael’s father, Dennis Michael, revealed that his son rejected the initial plea deal offered because he still says he was acting in self-defense against Dinning and was not guilty of any crime, before adding that his son wears his mask lower due breathing problems caused by asthma.
‘He’s not going to cover his nose and mouth because he can’t breathe,’ his father said. ‘And there was no mask mandate in place. It was just a request by Vision 4 Less that people wear a mask, and he was.’
The ‘severe’ sentencing, one of the harshest in the US, comes amid a continuing flurry of incidents and arrests at places like banks and polling places and airplanes over masks.