Transient charged with biting off Venice cafe owner's fingertip

Man pleads not guilty to biting off fingertip of Venice Beach businessman

A transient who has become a familiar figure in Venice Beach was charged Tuesday with biting off the tip of a cafe owner's finger.

Jonathan Shain Lemmons, 31, was charged with criminal threats and mayhem by Los Angeles County prosecutors after he allegedly bit off the tip of Clabe Hartley’s finger at the Cow’s End restaurant Saturday.

Doctors were unable to reattach Hartley’s finger.

The commotion began when Lemmons began behaving aggressively and refused to leave the restaurant despite warnings, said Lt. Lydia Leos of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Pacific Station.

Lemmons punched and scratched Hartley and a fight ensued, she said.

Three customers stepped in to help Hartley, who was unaware that Lemmons had bitten off a portion of his left ring finger during the brawl, Leos said.

“I was bleeding like an open faucet,” Hartley told KTLA.

A customer found the portion of  the finger just before Hartley was taken to a hospital, but doctors we unable to reattach it. Instead, he got 40 stitches, KTLA reported.

Lemmons pleaded not guilty and is being held in lieu of $150,000 bail. He’s due back in court April 20 and faces up to eight years in prison if convicted.

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