AUBURN — A man who was accused of nearly biting off the nose of a Lewiston bar patron in 2011 was sentenced to spend a year in jail after pleading no contest to a felony stemming from the incident.
A judge found Todd Lyons, 30, formerly of Mechanic Falls, guilty of Class B aggravated assault and sentenced him to five years in prison with four years suspended. He will be on probation for three years when he’s released from jail.
Once on probation, Lyons must stay away from Ryan Zinninger, the victim of the assault. Lyons must also be evaluated for mental health and anger and violence management and complete any counseling recommended, as well as evaluation and counseling for substance abuse.
Lyons won’t be allowed to use alcohol or illegal drugs and must submit to random searches and testing for them.
In the plea agreement, an initial charge of Class A aggravated assault, which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison, was reduced to Class B, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Lyons’ plea of “nolo” means he didn’t admit to any of the actions underlying the conviction, meaning no admissions can be used against him in a civil lawsuit.
Lyons, who was represented by a court-appointed attorney because he was indigent, was named in a lawsuit by Zinninger.
Police in Pascagoula, Miss., arrested Lyons last fall on a Maine warrant. He was found working there at a local carnival.
He had been held at Androscoggin County Jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail.
He was accused of nearly biting through the nose of a bar patron on a Lewiston dance floor in November 2011.
Lyons has a lengthy criminal record dating to 2002 that includes several convictions for assault, theft and burglary.
Lyons assaulted Zinninger of Greene, who was 29 in November 2011, when he was dancing at Pub 33, a bar on Sabattus Street, after midnight, according to court records.
Police said Lyons approached Zinninger and bit the tip of his nose nearly in two.
He was rushed to a Lewiston hospital where a doctor sewed his nose back into place with 12 stitches, police said.
Bar witnesses said the two men had an argument, but a bartender said the attack appeared to be a random act.
A police report in court records said Zinninger was dancing with some people on the dance floor when a stranger “leaned into him and bit him on the face.” The stranger was later identified as Lyons.
In his civil complaint, Zinninger said that the corporation that owned and operated the bar, CDDL Associates Inc., had been dissolved more than two months before the incident. Diane Bosse had been the corporation’s president and sole shareholder. The suit claims the bar was serving alcohol illegally at the time of the incident.
Zinninger’s complaint says the bar’s workers “negligently or recklessly” served liquor to Lyons, “a visibly intoxicated person” who was known to the bar’s workers and should have been known as someone who had a “propensity for violent conduct.”
The suit also seeks damages against Lyons for Zinninger’s permanent injury, pain, medical expenses and loss of wages.