Man charged with nine counts after Hardee's incident
by W. Winston Skinner
The man accused of pulling out a shot gun and threatening Hardee’s employees over the long wait for his food has been charged with eight counts of terroristic threats.
Jesse Michael Trent Griffin, 19, of the Sargent community, was also charged with one count of battery. He bonded out of the Coweta County Jail Friday evening.
His girlfriend, Rhonda Riley, was charged with one count of battery. She was no longer at the jail by Saturday afternoon.
Griffin and Riley were arrested Thursday night after a disturbance at the Hardee’s, located at 231 Temple Avenue.
According to the Newnan Police Department, Griffin became agitated because of a long wait for his food. He went through the drive-through at about 9:23 p.m. and was asked to pull around and wait on his food.
After several minutes, Griffin went into the store to complain. Employees said he entered the building with a cigarette and was asked to leave.
“After a couple of minutes had gone by, Griffin re-entered the store and was very agitated,” said NPD Officer C. White. Griffin reportedly used obscenities when speaking to the employees.
“Griffin’s aggressive and frustrated demeanor can clearly be seen on the store camera recording,” White said. At one point, Griffin picked up the store phone and slammed it on the front counter before exiting.
After Griffin got his food, an employee locked the door behind him.
Griffin then claimed “to have been shorted a order of french fries and approached the door a third time,” White said, but employees asked him to leave because of “his previous actions.”
Hardee’s employee Meggan Pierce went outside to ask Griffin and Riley to leave. A fight ensued between Riley and Pierce. White photographed scratches on Pierce’s neck, and Pierce told police Griffin pulled her hair as she was trying “to get his girlfriend off of her.”
Griffin reportedly told Riley to pop the trunk of the Mitsubishi so he could get his gun. Several Hardee’s employees “witnessed Griffin remove what appeared to be a shotgun from the trunk,” White said. “After removing the gun, Griffin racked the slide three times.”
"I will shoot all of you m----- f------," Griffin said as he was racking the gun.
Pierce “ran back into the store and locked the door,” White said. She and other employees rushed to the front counter as Griffin approached the door with the shotgun.
“All the employees on scene testified to the same exact events and each one expressed feelings of fear that Griffin was actually going to kill them,” White said.
The workers “assumed that there was something medically wrong with Griffin,” White said. Griffin and Riley, along with the two children who were in the backseat of the vehicle, left the scene before police arrived.
Coweta County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Griffin following a short foot chase through the woods near his home. Riley was also taken into custody, and officers seized the shotgun.
(Staff writer Sarah Fay Campbell contributed to this report.)