JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois man has been charged with gouging out his uncle's eyes then pushing him down the stairs in a fight over a remote control, authorities said.
The victim, 62-year-old Melvin Clifford, managed to call 911, and a sheriff's deputy found him at the bottom of the basement stairs with his hands stretched in front of him and blood streaming from his face, saying "'Please help. I cannot see," according to a Will County Sheriff's Department report.
Clifford's eyeballs were swollen and protruding a quarter-inch from his socket, the report said.
He told police that his nephew, Exulam Holman, 32, broke the remote and pushed him to the kitchen floor. He said Holman then straddled him and "inserted his thumbs into his eyes ... and attempted to pry the eyeballs out of the sockets," before pushing him down the stairs. The report noted that Holman weighs 280 pounds, about 140 pounds more than his uncle, and is 5 inches taller.
A deputy found Holman in a locked bedroom and arrested him on a charge of aggravated domestic battery. A judge ordered him held Tuesday on $1 million bond, and he was formally charged Wednesday with aggravated domestic battery and aggravated battery of a person over age 60, which both carry sentences of three to seven years in prison, said Charles Pelkie, spokesman for the Will County State's Attorney's Office.
Holman would be ineligible for probation and required to serve 85 percent of his term if convicted of the latter charge, Pelkie said. His arraignment was set for Jan. 25.
Clifford was taken to a local hospital before being transferred the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago, The (Joliet) Herald-News reported. A hospital spokeswoman could not confirm that Clifford was there.
The newspaper said Holman has an extensive arrest record for aggravated assault, battery, violating orders of protection and resisting arrest, including striking a police officer with a car while being arrested for driving under the influence.
Holman and his uncle live outside Joliet, which is about 40 miles southwest of Chicago. In 1999, Holman allegedly was beaten by a Joliet police officer who was breaking up a dice game, the newspaper reported. He eventually received a $100,000 settlement from the city, and the officer was fired.