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Winston-Salem Journal

June 17, 2002


Mitchell Jolly, the former Chastaine employee who is accused of attacking his plant manager and company owner after he was fired Wednesday, said that stress and depression caused his violent actions.

Jolly said that being unable to provide for his teen-age daughter and disabled wife contributed to his violent actions.

When Gary Embler, the plant manager, told Jolly that he was fired, Jolly beat Embler with a chair frame and broke his left leg. Embler had several deep cuts and bruises on his face and head.

Jolly then kicked in the steel door to the office building at Chastaine Industries and repeatedly stabbed Robert Dewhurst, the company owner, with a pair of 10-inch cloth-cutting scissors, according to the Claremont Police Department. Embler and Dewhurst were treated at a local hospital.

Jolly was arrested and charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, one count of destruction of real property and one count of resisting a government official.

He was taken to Catawba County Jail and was released Friday when his wife posted his $20,000 bond with the deed to their house.

Jolly said that when he went to Embler’s office to ask to see the price lists on the production sheet, Embler raised his voice to Jolly, who then went back to his work area.

“He (Embler) came out there about 20 minutes later and said, ‘We don’t need you here anymore,'” Jolly said. “I said, ‘What did I do wrong? Am I fired?'”

Embler replied, “‘Yeah, you’re fired,’ and he said it real hateful,” Jolly said.

“That’s when everything triggered. I just went off blank. And the next thing I know, I picked up that chair and threw it at him. After I did that, I was lost, running into the office, kicked the door in. I had my scissors on me and everything went blank,” Jolly said.

He said he was on the phone trying to call his wife when the police came into the office. He said he couldn’t understand anything that the police officers said to him.

A judge has told him to stay away from Chastaine Industries and Dewhurst and Embler, Jolly said.

Jolly will also undergo a psychiatric evaluation by a doctor Wednesday. Jolly said post-traumatic stress disorder was diagnosed in him last year, and he was taking the antidepressant Paxil to treat his depression. He said he did not take the medicine Tuesday or Wednesday, which could have contributed to his loss of control.

Jolly was Chastaine’s Employee of the Year two years ago, and many people who know him were shocked by his actions.

“He was a very nice guy. I never thought he would do anything like this,” said Alisha Cline, the Chastaine office manager.

Dewhurst also said he was surprised that Jolly could behave in such a violent manner. Jolly’s former boss, David Hart, who was Chastaine’s plant manager two years ago, said he had known Jolly for many years.

“He was an honest, hard working, good-hearted man,” Hart said.

Jolly has worked as a “spring up,” installing springs in furniture. He had been with Chastaine for four years.

Though Jolly said he loved his job and had great respect for the owner, he started to feel stress about one year ago when Embler began working at the plant.

“He was on me all the time. He would always yell at me like I was a child,” Jolly said.

A few months ago, Jolly said he was demoted. Instead of being paid hourly, he would be paid by production.

Sharrie Jolly said that her husband used to enjoy his work and would come home relaxed and pleasant after working a long shift. But he had been tense and unhappy with his job recently.

“He would come home drained from stress,” said Sharrie Jolly. “But you just can’t quit a job these days, especially when your wife’s disabled and you have a 14-year-old daughter.”

Memo: Megan Ward is a staff writer for the Hickory Daily Record.
Edition: METRO
Section: B
Page: 6
Dateline: CATAWBA
Record Number: 0206170030
Copyright (c) 2002 Winston-Salem Journal. All Rights Reserved.
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