Restaurant throat-slasher gets lengthy prison sentence
A former Buffalo Wild Wings employee must spend years in prison for slashing a co-worker's throat in the West Manchester Township restaurant's kitchen last year.
Clarence James Moore, 40, of York City, was in York County Court on Monday, Oct. 30, to resolve a related crime.
He pleaded guilty to witness intimidation for telling a York County Prison corrections officer, "It's in your best interest not to testify against me" in the throat-slashing case.
Moore pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in the restaurant attack on Sept. 7. He was sentenced Oct. 5 to 8½ to 17 years in state prison and given credit for the nearly 20 months he's already spent locked up.
In the witness-intimidation case, presiding Common Pleas Judge Harry M. Ness on Monday sentenced Moore to five to 10 years in state prison but ordered the sentence to run concurrent to Moore's aggravated assault sentence, meaning it adds no additional prison time.
Senior deputy prosecutor Jonathan Blake declined comment Monday.
Last-minute plea: He has previously said Moore decided to plead guilty to the Buffalo Wild Wings attack on the eve of trial after Ness ruled the prosecution was allowed to introduce evidence from Moore's witness-intimidation case to show his "consciousness of guilt" in the throat-slashing case.
Also, according to Blake, had Moore's attorney mounted a self-defense argument at trial, the prosecution would have been allowed to introduce Moore's 2007 aggravated assault conviction from Philadelphia.
Defense attorney Heather Reiner has said her client never intended to kill his former co-worker, Quanna Coakley.
"It was a fight. There were words going back and forth," she said. "Things got out of hand."
Coakley, 24, of York City, required stitches to his neck to close the wound, according to court documents.
Started as fight: West Manchester Township Police were called to Buffalo Wild Wings in the West Manchester Town Center about 5 p.m. March 26, 2016, for a report of employees fighting.
They found Coakley bleeding from the neck and another employee putting pressure on the wound, documents state.
Police have said Coakley and Moore argued and that blows were exchanged.
Moore grabbed a box cutter from a nearby table and cut Coakley's throat, according to police.
Surveillance footage from the restaurant showed Moore and Coakley arguing in the kitchen and showed Moore throw one or two punches at Coakley, who fought back, according to police.
The video showed Moore had an object in his hand as he was assaulting Coakley, who grabbed his neck and ran to the manager's office, documents state.
Moore then fled the restaurant but was tracked down and arrested a short time later at the nearby Walmart, court documents state.
Intimidated officer: Court documents state that the York County Prison corrections officer Moore admitted to intimidating previously worked at the same Buffalo Wild Wings and witnessed Moore cut Coakley's throat.
He no longer works at the restaurant but is still a prison guard, officials said.
Moore has been locked up since the attack and tried on two or three occasions to speak with the corrections officer, court documents state.
On May 3, 2016, Moore succeeded in having a conversation with the officer, despite being forbidden from contacting witnesses in the case, documents state.
Moore told him, "It's in your best interest not to testify against me," which the guard took as a threat and reported to his supervisor, West Manchester Township Police said.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.