A plea has been entered by the owner of a now-closed restaurant in Genoa Township who was charged with attacking his former employee with a baseball bat.

56-year-old Johnnie Lee Hamilton pleaded no contest to one count each of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder and assault with a dangerous weapon in Livingston County Circuit Court Friday. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to dismiss a second count of assault with a dangerous weapon.

Hamilton and his brother Jeremy Hamilton owned the Chinese-American buffet restaurant, Bubba Changs. Both brothers were charged for their involvement in an assault on an ex-employee that occurred in the restaurant’s parking lot in April of 2016. Guan Han Chen (aka Andy Chen) was a cook that had recently been fired from Bubba Changs, but returned to the business in an attempt to collect back wages and personal belongings. Chen’s son-in-law, Changqian Zou, had come with Chen, and an argument with the Hamilton’s and restaurant dishwasher Timothy Borg escalated in the parking lot.

Zou was reportedly attacked with a baseball bat by Johnnie Hamilton and then by Borg after falling to the ground. He suffered a skull fracture and injuries on his back. Borg was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison earlier this year for his role in the assault.

Jeremy Hamilton, who used the baseball bat to smash up Chen’s 2008 Honda Odyssey, was sentenced to three months’ probation in July. Johnnie Hamilton’s wife, Angela, allegedly hid the bat that was used and subsequently faced related charges. She recently entered a plea and is set to be sentenced later this month. Johnnie Hamilton will be sentenced October 12th. (DK)