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Published: Monday, 8/5/2013

Man charged after fight over 75 cents at shelter


A man has been charged with felonious assault after a fight — over a request for 75 cents — broke out at the Toledo Gospel Rescue Mission on Saturday, ending with another man seriously injured.

Police said Joseph Meyers, 52, and Houston Hart, Jr., 49, argued about Mr. Hart asking for the money, which violated mission rules.

Phillip Collins, 57, who said on Sunday he knows both men, alleged that Mr. Meyers owed Mr. Hart money.

Anthony Haynes, 44, a friend of Mr. Hart, alleged Mr. Meyers responded to Mr. Hart's request with inappropriate comments and gestures.

Mr. Hart allegedly responded by assaulting Mr. Meyers at about 5:39 p.m, beating Mr. Meyers and throwing him down a flight of steps, Toledo Police Sgt. Tim Noble said. The assailant continued to pummel and kick Mr. Meyers, who suffered a great deal of trauma to the face, the sergeant added.

"It was an altercation about something fairly trivial, and it escalated," Sergeant Noble said.

When police arrived at the scene, they located Mr. Meyers on the basement floor. He appeared to be unconscious and was badly beaten, police said.

Mr. Hart was still at the scene when police arrived at the mission, 1917 Jefferson Ave. He was taken into custody and charged late Saturday with felonious assault.

Mr. Meyers was taken to the Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, where, according to the medical center, he remained in the trauma neuro intensive care unit in critical condition.

Mr. Hart and Mr. Meyers were friends who worked at the Toledo Gospel Rescue Mission's "Mission Mall," which gives a specified number of free items to members of the community, Mr. Collins said.

In incidents unrelated to the fight at the mission, Mr. Hart has been arrested for receiving stolen property, driving violations, and drug paraphernalia. He was charged with assault, disorderly conduct, and robbery in 2002.

Officials at the Toledo Gospel Rescue Mission on Sunday declined to comment.

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