CINCINNATI -- An attack by a bitter ex-employee left Parkside Cafe owner Ken Kuley speaking Wednesday night through a jaw that had been wired in place.
Police said Demetrius Matthews, who had been fired months earlier for skipping parts of his shift at the Walnut Hills diner, returned Tuesday with his fists raised.
"He didn't say one word to me until he started swinging at me," Kuley said. "There was nothing; no heat for the battle escalation."
Matthews crossed the counter and punched Kuley in the face multiple times, breaking his jaw and blacking one eye. If other employees hadn't intervened to protect Kuley, the damage might have been even worse.
"I'm lucky I'm alive," Kuley said in court. "I could have been in a coma except for a couple employees pulled him off me. His last words as he was leaving were, ‘Remember, I know where you live.'"
Kuley now faces a long recovery; Matthews faces a charge of felonious assault. It's not his first.
Court records indicate that Matthews had been convicted of eight prior felonies. Kuley knew this, he said, when he hired the man -- Parkside Cafe prides itself on hiring within the Walnut Hills community and giving second chances.
The attack hasn't interfered with that mission, Kuley said.
"We love the place, we love the neighborhood and we love the guests, so we'll still be there tomorrow," he said.