A disgruntled Wilmington man who rammed his car into a restaurant after one of the patrons teased him for voting for President Obama wants a new sentencing hearing.
Jacob Spivey was convicted last year of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, among other charges, and sentenced to two-and-a-half to five years in prison. Spivey, who injured several people during the 2013 incident, cites a typo on the original indictment to justify a new sentencing. The typo, he maintains, prevented his lawyers from identifying and questioning one of the witnesses.
The North Carolina Court of Appeals is considering Spivey’s appeal this month.
Bartenders and patrons at Katy’s Bar and Grill in Wilmington knew Spivey as a socially awkward man who liked to sing karaoke. The night of the incident, after singing a karaoke song, Spivey crossed paths with a customer named Christina Short, who was on a date. Short had been making jokes about President Obama that night.
When Spivey told Short that he’d voted for Obama, Short laughed and called Spivey “a stupid little fucker.” Spivey didn’t respond. Instead, he smoked a cigarette on the patio, returned inside and ate some fries.
Soon after, as Spivey walked across the patio to the parking lot, he re-encountered Short and her date. Short said to Spivey, “Did daddy buy you your car?”
Spivey responded by getting into his Honda Civic, backing it up as far as he could, and then driving it into the patio, striking Short and several others, and plowing into the restaurant’s window and wall.
After the crash Spivey tried to flee the scene, but a patron slashed one of his tires.
Short suffered a broken hip and required surgery. Spivey was charged with attempted murder and 11 counts of assault with a deadly weapon, among other crimes.
One of the victims on the indictment was listed as “Christina Gibbs.” Spivey’s attorney attempted to locate Christina Gibbs, but to no avail.
During the trial, a man named Christian Gibbs testified that he was hit in the by Spivey’s car. Spivey’s attorney hadn’t prepared to question anyone named Christian Gibbs.
After Gibbs’ testimony, the government made a motion to amend the indictment, replacing “Christina” Gibbs with “Christian” Gibbs.
Spivey was found not guilty of attempted murder, but guilty of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. He was also found guilty of six counts of assault with a deadly weapon, each one linked to an injured patron, including Gibbs. Those counts resulted in two suspended 75-day sentences, replaced by probation following his prison release.
Spivey now argues that it was unfair for the indictment to be amended because his attorney wasn’t given the opportunity to prepare for Gibbs’ examination.
The state counters that the typo was trivial, and that Spivey had access to the D.A.’s report, which cited Christian Gibbs with the correct spelling.