- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Matthew David Griffiths, 27, of Lusby was found guilty Thursday by a Calvert County Circuit Court jury of stabbing a Tiki Bar bouncer last July.
Griffiths was originally arrested in August 2012, and later indicted on charges of first-degree assault, second-degree assault, wearing and carrying a dangerous weapon with intent to injure and disorderly conduct.
After a two-day trial, the jury convicted Griffiths of first- and second-degree assault. The two remaining charges were dropped before the trial began Wednesday afternoon.
A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled, said Assistant State’s Attorney Andrew Rappaport, who prosecuted the case.
Solomon Ogle, who worked last summer as a bouncer at the Tiki Bar in Solomons, testified he was working the night of July 3, 2012, and at about 1 a.m. July 4, 2012, he noticed two men “wrestling around” in the alleyway between the Tiki Bar and the Grill Sergeant. He said he walked over to the two men and told them to “cut it out” or they would have to leave. The two men broke apart, he said, and he believed the situation to be “squashed.”
Ogle said he then heard someone, later identified as Griffiths, tell him to get out of his friends’ faces because they weren’t doing anything wrong. He said he told Griffiths to calm down or he would have to leave. Griffiths continued arguing with him, so Ogle said he told him to leave and started escorting him from the alleyway off Tiki Bar property.
The edge of the Tiki Bar property, Ogle said, is at a light pole across Charles Street. He said his boss had directed him and other bouncers to escort any patron causing a disturbance past the light pole, so this is what he tried to do with Griffiths, but Griffiths refused to leave. Ogle said he then grabbed Griffiths’ arms and started walking him toward the edge of the property, when he felt Griffiths reach into his left pocket and then felt something jabbing his right arm.
Ogle said he did not know he was cut until his arm turned cold and when he looked down he saw he had been “cut severely.” He pushed Griffiths away from him and walked back toward the bar to ask the bartenders to call the police and an ambulance, and Griffiths ran along Charles Street away from the bar. Ogle was taken to Calvert Memorial Hospital, where he received 33 internal sutures and 68 staples for three deep stab wounds to his right forearm.
Although there were other bouncers and Griffiths’ friends surrounding Ogle and Griffiths, Ogle testified no one else was within 10 feet of them when he was stabbed.
Defense attorney Theodore LeBlanc asked Ogle if he had been drinking during his shift, and Ogle said he had one vodka and water about an hour before his shift began at 8 p.m. LeBlanc also pointed out that Ogle, when shown a photo array of six people about a week after the incident, did not pick Griffiths from that array.
“I misidentified him, yes,” Ogle responded.
Griffiths’ identical twin brother, Anthony Hanyok, was the second witness to testify during the trial.
Hanyok said he was at the Tiki Bar July 3 through 4 with his two friends, who were the ones wrestling around in the alley. He said he was the designated driver that night and was not drinking. In response to questions from Rappaport, Hanyok’s testimony apparently contradicted what he had told police the night of the incident. Rappaport asked Judge E. Gregory Wells to instead play Hanyok’s recorded interview because he was “clearly a hostile witness.”
Rappaport then played the recorded interview, in which Hanyok said his two friends began “roughhousing” in the alleyway as they were leaving the bar when the bouncer, Ogle, approached them and “escalate[d] the situation” by cursing and asking them to leave. Hanyok said his brother gave Ogle an “attitude right back.”
As Griffiths was walking away, Hanyok said, Ogle ran up to him and “bear hugged” him and “something happens; I don’t see what happens.” Hanyok said he saw Griffiths and Ogle back away from each other, and although he did not see Ogle get cut, he saw his arm was bleeding. He said he never saw his brother with a knife and never saw the actual stabbing.
Two other people working as bouncers at the Tiki Bar the night of the incident, Dave Saul and Robert Rowe, both testified they were in the street trying to keep Griffiths’ friends and brother back when they heard Ogle say, “I’ve been cut.”
Det. Hawkins with the Calvert Investigative Team, the lead investigator of the case, testified he interviewed Griffiths at the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office the night of the incident.
Hawkins testified Griffiths told him he did not “commit the crime he was accused of.” He said Griffiths admitted there was an altercation at the Tiki Bar with a bouncer but he was not the one who stabbed him. Griffiths said, Hawkins testified, that he ran away after Ogle said, “I’ve been cut,” because he was afraid someone was cutting people and he did not want to be stabbed. Hawkins said he and other detectives went back to the crime scene several times to search in the grass and in the water for a weapon, but a knife used in the crime was never found.
Hawkins said Griffiths had blood on his T-shirt and his right shoe, so those were taken and bagged as evidence and sent to the Maryland State Police forensics lab. MSP forensics lab DNA analyst Leslie Mounkes testified the DNA found on the T-shirt and shoe matched Ogle’s DNA.
The defense called Josh Bisson as a witness, who testified he did not know Griffiths, Hanyok or their friends prior to July 3 through 4. Bisson testified he was leaving the Tiki Bar and saw a bouncer confront two people wrestling in the alley and then saw a large group of people gather in Charles Street.
“All of the sudden,” Bisson testified, he heard someone had been stabbed and saw Griffiths “running away with his hands up.”
Stephen Harvey, who was one of the men wrestling in the alley, testified after Ogle told him to leave, he went to say goodbye to a few friends and when he came back outside he saw a “scuffle on the street.” He did not see anyone get stabbed and only saw Griffiths “walking” along Charles Street away from the Tiki Bar.