Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino announced today that Wordell Phelps, 37, of Newark was convicted by an Essex County jury of aggravated assault and weapons charges for attacking a 17-year-old Plainfield boy at McDonald’s in West Orange.
In addition to the assault charge, Phelps was also convicted of unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. In this case, the weapon was a wooden baseball bat.
Assistant Prosecutor Dawn C. Scott said Phelps came to the McDonald’s, located at 573 Northfield Avenue in West Orange, and beat the victim with a baseball bat because the victim and Phelps’s daughter, who was also employed at the McDonald’s, got into a dispute.
The defendant attacked the victim in the parking lot of the McDonald’s restaurant. He struck the boy in the head with the bat, knocked him to the ground and then stomped and beat the young man. The victim, whose identity is not being released because of his age, sustained a brain hemorrhage that required a three-day stay in St. Barnabas Hospital along with significant aftercare.
The trial was three days. The jury deliberated for an hour and a half before returning a guilty verdict in the case. Phelps is scheduled to be sentenced before the Honorable Rachel Davidson, J.S.C., on March 4. Because he has numerous prior convictions, Phelps faces up to 13 years in prison.
“Parents cannot resort to violence to resolve teenage disputes,’’ said Assistant Prosecutor Scott. “I am pleased with the verdict because it is clear the jurors exercised their common sense and reached a fair decision.’’