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Man accused of gouging out grandmother’s eyes over debit card

SAYVILLE, N.Y. – A grandmother was rendered blind after her grandson allegedly attacked her and gouged her eyes out during a dispute last month at their Long Island, New York home.

The dispute began around 7:45 p.m. on Feb. 19 at their shared home in Sayville.  Michael Grief, 30, started arguing with his 78-year-old grandmother over her debit card, which he had allegedly used to overdraw her account by $1,000.

His grandmother fled the house to get help from a neighbor, police said.

Grief then chased her out the door, attacked her outside of the neighbor’s house and gouged her eyes with his fingers, according to Suffolk County prosecutors. The force of the alleged assault caused the globes of her eyes to rupture.

The neighbors immediately called police.

The grandmother was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital where she underwent surgery for approximately eight hours in an attempt to save her vision. She was given a less than one percent chance to regain any vision, according to the hospital.

Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini said Wednesday that this is “an extremely disturbing case.”

“When the defendant was talking to police and was told he had gouged his grandmother’s eyes out, he was very dismissive,” District Attorney Sini said. “He said, ‘so?,’ shrugged his shoulders, and appeared to be apathetic toward the situation.”

Grief, who faces multiple assault charges, was arraigned on the indictment Wednesday and bail was set at $500,000 cash or $1 million bond.

If convicted, Grief faces a maximum sentence of up to 25 years in prison.

Grief is due back in court on March 15.

“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.”

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