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Suffolk DA: Long Island Man Gouges Grandmother's Eyes Out During Dispute Over Money

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A Sayville man is facing multiple years in jail after allegedly brutalizing his grandmother during a dispute over money last month.

Investigators say 30-year-old Michael Grief began arguing with his 78-year-old grandmother after he allegedly used her debit card to overdraw her account by $1,000.

Michael Grief
Michael Grief, 30 (credit: Suffolk County DA's Office)

At that point, Grief's grandmother became afraid for her safety and left to get help from a neighbor.

Officials say Grief followed his grandmother outside, where he allegedly attacked her and gouged her eyes out with his fingers.

The force from the attack caused the globes of her eyes to rupture, rending the elderly woman blind.

"This is an extremely disturbing case," Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said. "We will take all appropriate action to make sure that not only his family is safe, but that the public is safe from this dangerous individual."

Neighbors observed the assault and contacted police, who took Grief into custody. The victim was rushed to Stony Brook University Hospital, where she underwent emergency surgery in an attempt to save her vision.

Grief is charged with one count of first degree assault and two counts of second degree assault and is being held on $500,000 cash bail or $1 million bond. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.

"The message here is one about domestic violence: Often people find themselves in situations with their family members where they feel helpless or threatened, and we want to encourage those people to reach out," District Attorney Sini said. "If you are in immediate danger, call 911. In non-emergency situations, you can also reach out to the District Attorney's Office and we can put you in contact with a victim's advocate who can empower you and help you navigate the process of ensuring your safety."

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Laurie Moroff, of the Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Bureau.

Grief is due back in court next Friday.

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