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Published: Thursday, January 14, 2010
By Tracey Read, TRead@News-Herald.com
Not liking the way his depression medication made him feel, Chris Lyonnais decided to take himself off the prescription drug cold turkey.
That was an error in judgment that could have had devastating consequences for several innocent people, Lake County Common Pleas Judge Joe Gibson said.
Lyonnais, a 38-year-old New Bedford, Mass., man, was sentenced Wednesday to an additional 30 days in Lake County Jail for attacking someone with a hammer inside a Mentor McDonald’s.
Gibson also ordered Lyonnais, who already has been in jail for 130 days, be transferred to the Massachusetts probation system.
Although the judge could have sentenced Lyonnais to a maximum five years in prison, Gibson said hard time is not what the carpenter needs.
“Our court psychologist said the reason this occurred is because you were dabbling in the medication,” Gibson said. “You should never have tried to get off the medicine without medical supervision.”
Lyonnais was in Mentor over Labor Day weekend last year for work. He was a laborer at Walmart in Mentor.
While at McDonald’s, he wrongly thought someone had taken some of his tools, so he confronted three people in the parking lot.
One of the men ran into the restaurant and Lyonnais followed. Lyonnais hit him in the arm with the hammer, but the victim a New York man in town for a soccer game stopped him by wrapping him in a bear hug.
“It was a completely unprovoked, random attack,” Assistant Lake County Prosecutor Stephanie Snevel said.
Assistant Lake County Public Defender Susan Grieshammer called it a psychiatric issue.
“If he’s treated properly, this won’t happen again,” she said.
Lyonnais apologized to the victims, who did not attend the hearing.
“It was an uncalled for act,” he told the judge. “I’m deeply sorry it ever occurred.”
The judge warned Lyonnais he did not want to see him back in Lake County after his jail stint ends.
“And no more self-doctoring,” Gibson added.
Lyonnais pleaded guilty to attempted felonious assault last month. In return, a second charge of trying to escape from Mentor City Jail was dismissed.