Man's Ear Bitten Off During Fight

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A man had an ear bitten off during a fight outside the bowling alley last week.

Payson police were called to a fight in the parking lot of Rim Country Lanes on the night of Sept. 15. When officers arrived, they pulled the two men apart to find that 22-year-old Joseph Gerard Jones, Jr. of Payson, had bitten the other man's ear off.

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Joseph Jones

"I heard an officer call for assistance," Payson Police Sgt. Rod Mamero said. "It was a very chaotic situation. Fortunately, we had extra officers on duty because we were doing the drug enforcement sweep that night."

"When I got there, I noticed a male subject with a severe injury to his ear," Payson Police Officer Joni Varga said. "When I looked at it closer, it was bit and leveled off about half an inch down."

Jones told officers the ear biting was in self-defense because he was being jumped by seven men. Varga said witnesses contradicted Jones' account.

"The witnesses we spoke to said the only person fighting the subject was his own sister," Varga said. "She was the only one who was physically assaulting him."

The victim told police that he had Jones in a headlock to stop him from punching him.

"He said that's when he felt him bite onto his right ear," Varga said. "He told him to let go and then he felt pressure. A few seconds later the suspect spit (the ear) onto the ground right in front of him."

The victim was taken to Payson Regional Medical Center where the emergency room physician called Flagstaff Medical Center to see if the ear could be reattached.

The specialist in Flagstaff said because the injury was from a human bite and the mouth is full of bacteria, the ear could not be reattached.

The ear is now in the Payson Police Department's evidence refrigerator for future trial purposes.

Varga said Jones and the victim had known each other a long time.

"The victim employed (Jones) at one time and he was terminated," Varga said. "There were family issues, too."

Jones had been sending threatening text messages to the victim and his family for some time prior to the fight.

"Even that night, right after he had bit the victim -- at the ER he was still sending text messages to the victim's family saying "you're next," Varga said. "He appeared to have no remorse."

Jones was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, threatening and intimidating and theft.

"He was accused of stealing cash out of the tip jar at the bowling alley while he was drinking," Varga said. "That property was on him at the ER."

After posting bond last week, Jones was released.

"He was arrested again (Tuesday) for threats and tampering with a witness," Varga said.

Jones was transported to Globe Wednesday morning where he remains in custody in lieu of a $25,000 bond.

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