AUBURN, Maine — Roughly two years after he was accused of nearly biting off the nose of a bar patron on a Lewiston dance floor, Todd Lyons appeared in court Wednesday to deny a related assault charge.
Lyons, 33, formerly of Mechanic Falls, was arrested recently on a warrant by police in Pascagoula, Miss., where he was found working at a local carnival, Assistant District Attorney Lisa Bogue told Justice MaryGay Kennedy in Androscoggin County Superior Court Wednesday morning.
An Androscoggin County grand jury had indicted Lyons in December 2011 on a charge of Class A aggravated assault, punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
He had been held at Androscoggin County Jail in lieu of $15,000 cash bail. Justice Kennedy lowered that amount to $10,000 and told Lyons he could return to court for a bail hearing if he were able to secure a contract with Maine Pretrial Services, a supervisory agency for defendants.
Attorney Heather Walker, who was standing in for Lyons’ court-appointed attorney, George Hess, was seeking $1,500 cash bail.
Bogue objected, citing a lengthy criminal record dating back to 2002 that included several convictions for assault, theft and burglary.
Walker said Lyons hadn’t been aware of the outstanding warrant for his arrest on the latest assault indictment.
If released from jail, Lyons was ordered to have no contact with the man prosecutors say Lyons assaulted. Walker said Lyons doesn’t know that man or what he looks like.
Police said in an affidavit that Lyons assaulted Ryan Zinninger of Greene who was 29 in November 2011 when he was dancing at Pub at 33, a bar on Sabattus Street after midnight.
Police said Lyons came up to him and bit the tip of his nose nearly off.
He was rushed to a Lewiston hospital where a doctor sewed his nose back into place with 12 stitches, police said.
Bar witnesses said the two men had an argument, but a bartender said the attacked appeared to be a random act.
A police report in court records said Zinninger was dancing with some people on the dance floor when a stranger “leaned into him and bit him on the face.” The stranger was later identified as Lyons.
Zinninger filed a civil complaint recently in Androscoggin County Superior Court against Lyons and the bar’s owner.
In his complaint, Zinninger said that the corporation that owned and operated the bar, CDDL Associates, Inc., had been dissolved more than two months before the incident. Diane Bosse had been the corporation’s president and sole shareholder. The suit claims the bar was serving alcohol illegally at the time of the incident.
Zinninger’s complaint says the bar’s workers “negligently or recklessly”served liquor to Lyons, “a visibly intoxicated person” who was known to the bar’s workers and should have been known as someone who had a “propensity for violent conduct.”
At the time of the reported assault, the bar’s owners “owed (Zinninger) a duty to supervise and control the actions of its customer and to protect him from harm.”
The suit also seeks damages against Lyons for Zinninger’s permanent injury, pain, medical expenses and loss of wages.