A New York man allegedly used his bare hands to destroy his grandmother's eyeballs, leaving her blinded, in a vicious attack during an argument over $1,000 he withdrew from her account.
Michael Grief, 30, of Sayville, Long Island, was officially charged with three counts of violent assault on Wednesday as his grandmother, Sheila Grief, recovers from serious injuries.
Officials in court said that the incident occurred on Feb. 19 during a dispute over Sheila's bank account, from which Michael had overdrawn, according to 1010 WINS, a New York City-based radio station.
As the argument escalated, Sheila ran to a neighbor's for help. But she couldn't escape her grandson, who then "pressed his fingers into her eyes, one at a time, causing the globe of each eye to rupture," according to a prosecutor. That's when neighbors called the police, according to ABC 7 New York.
Sheila was rushed to Stony Brook University Hospital where she received emergency surgery for eight hours. Doctors believe she has almost no chance of ever seeing again.
The superintendent at the building where the crime allegedly occurred, David Ryan, recalled hearing the two argue several times in the past.
"I heard yelling and screaming sometimes, they would fight and stuff, and then one of the neighbors that lived here years ago said that they always fought," Ryan said.
Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini described Michael as "apathetic" about the accusations against him.
"This is an individual who we consider dangerous and we have to take all appropriate action," Sini said.
"The message here is one about domestic violence: Often people find themselves in situations with their family members where they feel helpless or threatened, and we want to encourage those people to reach out," Sini continued. "If you are in immediate danger, call 911. In non-emergency situations, you can also reach out to the District Attorney's Office and we can put you in contact with a victim's advocate who can empower you and help you navigate the process of ensuring your safety.
Although Michael Grief has no criminal background, records show that he has struggled with mental illness throughout his life. He is being held on $500,000 cash bail and $1 million bond. He potentially faces 25 years in prison if he is found guilty of the charges being brought against him.
Grief is due back in court on March 15, according to Fox 61 of Hartford, Connecticut.
[Photo: Suffolk County DA's Office]
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