When Ashley Meeks entered an Orange County restaurant's bar at 6:30 p.m. on September 17, 2007, he was jovial. But three hours–and multiple cocktails–later the paralegal was calling bartender Katie Tanaka “a little whore.” Worse, he was on the verge of committing a pathetic act of violence.
Meeks–who helps convicted sex offenders avoid lifetime registration requirements–spent about an hour at the bar drinking three bourbon and cokes, left and returned at 9:30 p.m. After Tanaka served him another drink, Meeks had a cell phone conversation with an attorney who owned him money. According to court records, “The conversation was heated, and Meeks yelled and cursed loudly.”
Afterward, Meeks ordered another cocktail from Tanaka and said, “You're going to have to take me home.” She ignored the flirty remark. He then said, “You don't like me . . . very much, do you?” Tanaka told him he was being rude. He began yelling at her, claiming she was disrespecting him and asserting that he knew the restaurant's owner and would get her fired.
Feeling threatened, Tanaka cried while the restaurant manager attempted to calm Meeks, who wanted another drink. She refused to serve him again. Court records show that Meeks began causing another scene–screaming, grabbing the manager's tie and boasting that he could “drop him.” He called Tanaka “a little whore” and then turned violent.
While Tanaka served other patrons, Meeks grabbed his heavy, six-inch tall glass and “with force” threw it “like a baseball” at her. It shattered against a wine refrigerator about a foot away from the bartender. Slivers of glass struck her in the face.
When Orange police arrived they found Meeks “very intoxicated . . . his eyes were watery and bloodshot, his speech was slurred, his balance unstable and he emitted a strong odor of alcohol,” according to court records.
At his 2008 trial, Meeks, admitted that he threw the glass but claimed he threw it to the floor 15 feet away from Tanaka. A jury disagreed. It found him guilty of assault with a deadly weapon, a felony.
But Meeks didn't surrender. He appealed his conviction. Among his complaints: jurors had been confused. And this: he threw the glass so quickly that he didn't have time to form criminal intent to harm anyone.
Last week, the California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana announced that it had reviewed the trial and upheld the conviction.
For one incredibly stupid moment of rage, Meeks earned an 180-day stay in the Orange County Jail plus three years of formal probation.
(OCWeekly.com's “Citizen of the Week!” periodically highlights the depths of human depravity in Orange County, California.)
for previous “Citizen of the Week!” losers.
–R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly
CNN-featured investigative reporter R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; earned six dozen other reporting awards; obtained one of the last exclusive prison interviews with Charles Manson disciple Susan Atkins; featured in Jeffrey Toobin’s The Best American Crime Reporting; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing entrenched Southern California law enforcement corruption.