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Weapons charge issued after stabbing at Brann’s

By Joe LaFurgey,


WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — One person has been charged in connection to a stabbing at Brann’s Steakhouse and Grille in Wyoming that seriously injured a man.

Jesse Simmons, 55, of Wyoming, was arrested and arraigned March 9 on a charge of carrying a concealed weapon.

Simmons does not face an assault charge, with Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker saying the stabbing itself was self-defense. He said evidence shows Simmons and the victim Justin Towns got into an altercation before the stabbing over a minor slight.

“Just seems like a bump in a bar. Two people didn’t know each other. No prior history. It was just taking umbrage at … running into a person at the bar and all bets were off,” Becker told News 8 Tuesday.

Citing the pending concealed weapons charge against Simmons, Becker declined to go into detail on how that bump escalated to a stabbing.

The stabbing happened the evening of Jan. 31 at the steakhouse on Division Avenue near Bellevue Street. Towns told News 8 in early February he was attacked by two men he didn’t recognize as he sat at the bar. He suffered several stab wounds to his face, head, back and right arm.

Man stabbed at Brann’s: ‘I would’ve been dead’

While Wyoming police said there was a fight inside the restaurant before the stabbing, Towns told News 8 he didn’t have anything to do with it and claimed he was targeted. Becker said the evidence did not back up that claim.

“We took a look at all the evidence. We got a good report from the city of Wyoming. Plus, I think one of the biggest things is the video from Brann. Basically, looking at all of that, the victim was in essence the aggressor in this incident from our perspective and we could not overcome any self-defense argument from the person we charged,” Becker said.

Despite Town’s injuries, Becker says Simons claims of self-defense met the legal definition.

“Self-defense is a very factual question. There isn’t any real line, this is where you can use self-defense, here’s when you can’t use self-defense. It depends on all of the facts and circumstances. Generally, it’s going to depend on what is the nature of the threat you are facing. The threat you’re facing gives you the authority to use the amount of force to fight off that threat, in general terms,” Becker said. “The injuries suffered by the victim were horrific. But in the end analysis, there was a self-defense claim that the person that we charged validly had, given all of the circumstances.”

Becker said he does not plan to charge Towns.

Simmons is expected back in court on March 22 and March 29 for hearings. He faces 5 years in prison or a $2,500 fine if convicted.

—News 8 digital executive producer Rachel Van Gilder contributed to this report.

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