Man accused of attacking McDonald’s worker avoids jail time | News

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NEWBURYPORT — A Texas man charged with attacking the manager of McDonald’s restaurant on a Storey Avenue in early 2021 was ordered to stay out of city after reaching a plea deal Friday in Newburyport District Court.

John C. Holton, 71, was arraigned on a charge of assault and battery in March 2021, roughly two months following the incident Jan. 13, 2021.  

During the plea deal before Judge Richard Mori on Friday, Essex County Assistant District Attorney Michelle Belmonte said her office could not prosecute the legally blind and deaf Holton due to his disabilities and offered to generally continue the charge for a year. 

Holton’s attorney did not argue Belmonte’s plea offering. During the next year, Holton must also stay away from the victim. 

Told he could not eat his fast-food meal inside McDonald’s due to COVID-19 restrictions, Holton became angry and attacked the manager, according to  District Court records.

Then-Newburyport police Officer Derek Paru was told by the manager that even though the dining room was closed, Holton and his wife sat down at one of the tables about 12:15 p.m. and began eating.

When the manager asked them to leave, Holton and his wife refused. The manager then grabbed their drinks and placed them on a to-go tray.

Holton then “went after” the manager and grabbed her arm, leaving a red mark, according to the officer’s report.

A witness who stepped in to break up the altercation told the officer that he “felt the need to protect (the manager)” after seeing Holton attack her, the report said.

By the time Paru and Officer Charles Vorderis arrived, Holton and his wife were in their U-Haul truck with the motor running.

Holton admitted they did not want to eat outside, but told officers he was merely trying to grab the drinks away from the manager. Holton also said he was “suddenly grabbed from behind” by the witness.

Holton told police he was a disabled veteran who had a hard time hearing, Paru wrote in his report.

Dave Rogers is a reporter with the Daily News of Newburyport. Email him at: Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008. 

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