Three weeks after Terry Backus allegedly stomped a homeless man while inhaling “whip-its,” he used a commercial grade metal container to strike a 76-year-old man in the head, police say.
Backus, a self-styled Bible-quoting preacher from North Carolina, admitted to Key West Police Officer Carter Sims he indeed struck Mustafa Abadal-Khallaq Tuesday afternoon while in a small park at 200 Front Street in Truman Annex. Backus was booked on a charge of felony aggravated battery.
“He spoke of God and how he was a holy man, etc.,” Sims wrote.
A witness said Backus struck Abadal-Khallaq in the head with the container and was “ranting about Jesus Christ the savior and how this was his world,” Sims wrote.
Abadal-Khallaq was bleeding from a head wound, and his shirt and pants were coated with blood. He was unsure whether he wanted to press charges against Backus, saying it was just a violent, unprovoked attack.
Backus earlier Tuesday had been released from jail after a prior incident in which police said he stomped a disabled man at Mallory Square after doing whip-its, the practice of inhaling a dose of nitrous oxide found in the cartridges that power whipped cream cans.
Backus’ bond was set at $5,000 and he was in the Stock Island Detention Center on Friday.
Abadal-Khallaq is a longtime popular musician who performs at the Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square. Asked about his condition, he gave a light-hearted answer.
“I am able to perform yet not very effectively with a large Band-Aid on my forehead, so says Phillip, my tip bucket,” Abadal-Khallaq wrote in an email message. “Appearance is everything in show biz I guess, even if I’m only the accompaniment to the Sun’s setting.”
A couple was jailed May 16 after police say they left an abandoned vessel, complete with a feces-stained dog named Rebel, on a boat north of the Key West mooring field near the Garrison Bight for about two weeks.
Ashley Van Vleet, 25, of Stock Island was booked for abandonment of an animal, torment of an animal and unlawful confinement of an animal, all misdemeanors. Her husband, Jeff Guerin, was booked for misdemeanor abandoning a vessel.
On April 19, the dog was found by animal control officer Matt Royer, who requested help from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which took him by boat to find the abandoned vessel.
The vessel had no Bimini top to provide shelter from the sun and the dog was on the bow. The decks were covered in dog feces and the entire boat reeked of urine and dog waste.
“The dog’s skin and fur were stained yellow,” according to the arrest warrant, which described the dog as underweight with red, apparently infected eyes and ears clogged with dirt. No food or water dish was found on the deck. No dog waste was found below deck.
Van Vleet told Royer she had no way to get to her vessel because her dinghy was broken. Guerin told Royer he had checked on the dog two days’ prior but Royer said the amount of feces was consistent with about two weeks of neglect.
The dog was signed over to the Florida Keys SPCA by the woman. Rebel on Thursday was getting better, the agency’s executive director Tammy Fox said.
Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen