A 41-year-old Palo Alto man will serve seven years in state prison for biting another man's ear during a brawl outside of a Redwood City bar in July 2013, a San Mateo County Superior Court judge ruled on Thursday.
Joshua McGriff and the victim were both at the Underground Pub at 2650 Broadway St. when the fight broke out at closing time in July 2013. The victim went inside to pay his bill and left his cigarettes and lighter outside. When he returned, his cigarettes and lighter were missing. He asked McGriff for a cigarette and recognized his lighter in McGriff's hand.
After being confronted about the theft, McGriff pushed the victim. The victim grabbed McGriff in a bear hug, and the two struggled into a corner outside of the bar. During the struggle, McGriff bit the victim's ear, taking off a substantial portion. He detached the back of the ear from the victim's head, requiring skin-graft surgery, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.
The victim was intoxicated and did not have a good recollection of events. McGriff said he could not breathe while being held in the bear hug and bit the ear in self-defense. But this was a second-strike case, since McGriff was previously convicted of mayhem for biting his then-girlfriend's face in 2007, according to the district attorney's office.
Judge Mark Forcum found McGriff guilty of felony mayhem, felony assault and the great bodily injury enhancement on March 11 after a five-day court trial.
This week, he sentenced McGriff to seven years in state prison, giving him two years for mayhem and a five-year enhancement for having the prior felony conviction. McGriff received 247 days credit for time served and he must pay restitution and fines and fees. The total has not yet been determined by the court.