‘He was hysterical’: Witness recalls Ionia-area sword attack

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IONIA, Mich. (WOOD) — A judge on Monday denied bail for the man accused of robbing an Ionia-area liquor store and attacking a clerk with a katana.

Jonathan Wroten, 36, was charged with assault with intent to murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, armed robbery and four counts of resisting or obstructing a police officer.

Jessica Bowen, another clerk at the More Purks on Bluewater Highway just west of Ionia, witnessed the frightening attack on Sunday. 

She said she had just returned from picking up her daughter when she saw Wroten try to tie the front door shut. At first, she said, she thought it was just a Halloween joke.

“I thought he was trying to prank somebody inside the store,” she said. “I still haven’t wrapped my head around it.”

“When I come up to him, he just was going hysterical,” she continued. “When (the other clerk) came to the door, he stabbed the knife through the door and as he did it, it went through his arm. And then he pushed him through the door and he came through the side and ended up slicing him and taking his ear.”

Bowen said Wroten also tried to stab her with the sword but barely missed.

Her 11-year-old daughter was inside the car watching the attack unfold. 

“My daughter has been blowing my phone up all day since she woke up, making sure I’m still all right and that no one is breaking into my store,” she said.

Bowen has been in contact with her co-worker and said he is expected to be released from the hospital soon.

“Last I heard, he’s doing good and everything is fine. He’s healing good. Hopefully, he’ll be home today,” she said.

Wroten appeared in Ionia District Court Monday afternoon and appeared frustrated with the charges brought against him, particularly regarding the encounter with officers during his arrest shortly after the attack.

“I plead not guilty by reason of entrapment,” he blurted out.

He also charged with two counts of resisting and obstruction of a police officer on Oct. 20.

Wroten previously spent three years in prison after a 2014 conviction on drug charges. He also served five years for a 2003 criminal sexual misconduct conviction.

He will be back in court for a probable cause hearing on Nov. 15.

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