Hot dog store owner convicted of aggravated battery after using stun gun on customer

Posted: Feb. 11, 2014 5:52 pm Updated: Feb. 25, 2014 6:14 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

A downtown Quincy business owner faces up to five years in prison after being convicted of aggravated battery by an Adams County Circuit Court jury on Tuesday.

It took a jury less than two hours to find Angela D. Flachs, 38, guilty of aggravated battery and unlawful use of a weapon. Flachs used a stun gun against a customer during an altercation at AJ's Dawgs, 534 Hampshire, in the early morning hours of April 21, 2013.

Flachs could get five years in prison on the felony aggravated battery charge and 364 days in the Adams County Jail on the unlawful use of weapon charge when she is sentenced by Judge Robert Adrian on March 20.

Flachs testified Tuesday that she returned to her restaurant at about 2 a.m. April 21 after making a delivery to a nearby business and found a group of customers being rowdy inside the establishment. The customers were upset that their order had not been brought to their table. Two of Flachs' daughters working at the restaurant told the group that they were not allowed to leave from behind the counter to deliver food.

Flachs said she tried to calm down two women who were among the group of six people.

"The blond-haired lady started screaming about how the employees were rude and was cussing about the service," Flachs said. "Then they threw their food on their ground and broke a couple of chairs."

Flachs said the group "got in her face."

"I took my coat off and said, ‘Let's go then,'?" Flachs said. "If they were going to come at me, I had to defend myself."

One of Flachs' daughters testified that she brought a stun gun to Flachs near the front of the restaurant on the southwest corner of Sixth and Hampshire. Flachs said the stun gun was kept under the front counter as a safety precaution for store workers. Flachs said she "sparked it several times," but she denied ever using the weapon against anyone. She said she stayed inside the store during the entire incident.

Once Flachs' attorney, Public Defender Brett Jansen, rested his case, Assistant State's Attorney Laura Keck called Greg Liesen, an officer with the Quincy Police Department, as a rebuttal witness.

Liesen said he found the group of people and Flachs standing outside the building when he arrived. He was the first officer on the scene.

Liesen said a customer called 911 and said the owner was harassing them. Liesen said the group had an argument with Flachs about getting a monetary refund for their order. He said Flachs never told him that she felt threatened by the group.

During Monday's opening day of the trial, Shaide Ferrel of Quincy testified she had been hit twice with a stun gun outside the restaurant. Photos of Ferrel's injuries were shown to the seven-man, five-woman jury. She had four marks on her chest from the two hits with the stun gun. The distance between the marks on Ferrel's body were 1 1/2 inches apart, which was the exact distance of the prongs on the stun gun used in the incident.

Ferrel's husband, Brad, testified he heard his wife scream that she had been "tased" each time after she was hit.

"This was a simple customer-owner dispute," Keck told the jury during her closing statement. "Both sides said things they should never say in that type of setting. Those customers decided to leave, and the defendant followed them outside with a stun gun and shocked the victim."

Jansen said members of the group had been drinking before the incident. He said it was difficult to accept Shaide Ferrel's testimony because she repeatedly said she couldn't remember parts of the incident.

"Sometimes things get out of control," Jansen said. "Everyone has (his or her) own story."

Information in the case was filed July 24. Flachs was served with an arrest warrant Sept. 11. She has been free since posting $500 bond that day.