JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The owners of Wing Depot, who are accused of beating a 66-year-old Navy veteran last month outside an American Legion post, are facing felony charges.
William Lodge, 60, is charged with aggravated battery, a second-degree felony, which carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.
Terry Lodge, 55, is charged with third-degree felony battery on a person 65 or older, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.
The Lodges were booked into the Duval County Jail on Tuesday, but bonded out Tuesday afternoon.
The Lodges had initially been charged with misdemeanor battery of Charles Hughes, who suffered multiple injuries and was hospitalized. He was later released.
Surveillance video from inside the American Legion post on Fort Caroline Road shows the moments leading up the incident. In the video, Hughes is sitting on one side of the bar, and the Lodges are on the other side of the bar, just outside the frame, but visible in other camera angles.
At one point in the video, Hughes and others begin throwing coasters at the bartender, who was talking to the Lodges. After a few coasters are thrown, William Lodge is seen in the video pointing and yelling at Hughes. Hughes yells back at first, before the bartender walks over and appears to be yelling at him. Shortly after that, Hughes gets up and says goodbye to a couple of women at the bar. Ten seconds later, William Lodge walks behind the bar and out the same door, following him to the parking lot.
Police said the Lodges then beat Hughes in the parking lot, out of the view of surveillance cameras.
An attorney for the couple and witnesses told different stories about what led to the altercation.
Witnesses told News4Jax that Hughes was joking around, tossing coasters into the air at the American Legion, when one landed near Terry Lodge and her husband, William Lodge.
Tammy Shipp was at the bar, visiting with friends, when she said an argument broke out over the thrown coasters. She told News4Jax Tuesday that she had heard about the arrests.
"I hear about it earlier today, on one of the boycott Facebook pages, the boycott Wing Depot page. I am happy that they have been arrested and the charges have been upped to felony charges. I think that's appropriate, and I am positive justice will be done," Shipp said. "I know there are still picketers out front of Wing Depot. They have been working hard to let people in the community know what happened."
Witnesses said the two became angry and began arguing with Hughes, but said that Hughes decided to leave. Witnesses said that when Hughes walked outside, they saw the Lodges follow him, then start punching and kicking him.
But Miguel Rosada, the attorney representing Terry and William Lodge, said last month that his clients are innocent.
"There's a lot that we're working to uncover right now. However, we're fairly confident that when everything does come to light, they will be exonerated," Rosada said.
Rosada pointed to William Lodge's injuries, saying that he and his wife were beaten by Hughes.
"Unfortunately, the alleged victim may have had too much to drink and confronted Mr. Lodge when he tried to ask him why he decided to throw projectiles at Mr. and Mrs. Lodge at the bar," Rosada said.
The arrest report noted that both the Lodges were “highly intoxicated” when they were arrested.
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