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Man pleads guilty to assaulting Japp’s bar manager, sentenced to 5 years

Posted at 11:13 AM, Jan 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-30 12:20:44-05

CINCINNATI -- A man on Wednesday pleaded guilty to attacking an Over-the-Rhine bar manager in June.

Lucien Lanier pleaded guilty to felonious assault for punching Japp’s bar manager Jen Watts so hard in the face that she cracked her skull on the pavement near a parking lot on Sycamore Street. Watts had to have brain surgery after the attack.

Both the prosecution and the defense agreed to a five-year sentence, and Judge Dinkelacker handed down that sentence.

Lanier’s attorney said he had expressed remorse about the incident, but she told Dinkelacker she had advised him not to talk on the record.

Watts spoke in court for the first time once Lanier entered a guilty plea.

“He tried to kill me -- and he hurt me really bad -- but he couldn’t,” Watts said. “I only had a few minutes to live, but I held on. And I’m stronger than him, and now I’m not afraid of him anymore. And that’s all. That’s all I have to say to him.”

Molly Wellman, the owner of Japp’s and a friend of Watts, spoke on behalf of Watts after the sentencing.

“She's inspirational to all of us at Japps, and I can't say enough great things,” Wellman said. “She's very strong. It's incredible how quickly and how well she has healed. This is the next step, the mental part of the healing, and this was a big step and I'm really happy it's over, and I know Jen is happy it's over."