When Peter Greeley stepped outside a Tombstone saloon last October he never expected to be accosted by a stranger. And he certainly never imaged that the stranger would stab Greeley in an unprovoked attack.
And with the one year anniversary of the attack fast approaching, Greeley is facing the prospect that his attacker may escape justice because the warrant for the attacker’s arrest is only valid in Arizona.
Earlier this year Greeley filed a lawsuit against Robby Owen Jones, Debra Ann Jones, and Vogan’s Alley Bistro on Tombstone’s historic Allen Street in connection with the Oct. 4, 2021 attack. He is seeking compensation for myriad damages, including medical expenses, lost earnings over several weeks, impaired future earning capacity, several emotional stress, and scarring.
Public records show Greeley was enjoying a Monday night at a local Tombstone saloon when he stepped outside to smoke a cigarette. He then encountered Robby Jones, whom Greeley did not know.
Jones began to falsely accuse Greeley of stealing Debra Jones’ phone.
Greeley denied stealing the phone and even showed his own phone to Jones “in an effort to prove to Robby Jones that no theft had occurred.”
But Jones rejected Greeley’s denials, then attacked Greeley with a knife.
“Robby Jones attempted to stab Plaintiff in his abdomen, but Plaintiff was able to prevent his abdomen was being stabbed by blocking with his right arm. Plaintiffs arm was badly cut, with Robby Jones’s knife blade going all the way through Plaintiffs forearm.”
Jones was arrested at the scene but did not stop his accusations against Greeley, according to the lawsuit.
“Robby Jones continued to make false accusations against Plaintiff, but changed the nature of the accusation from theft of his wife’s phone to an assault on his wife
– an accusation that Debra Jones denied to law enforcement,” the lawsuit states, adding that at all times Robby Jones was “obviously intoxicated.”
Jones was booked into the Cochise County jail from which he was released the next day. Weeks later when the county attorney’s office moved forward with prosecuting Jones for felony aggravated assault the suspect was long gone.
An arrest warrant issued by the Bisbee Justice Court can only be enforced in Arizona, despite the fact social media postings showed Jones and his wife in Oregon this summer, leaving the assault case on hold unless Jones voluntarily returns to Arizona or the prosecutor asked a judge to reissue a warrant valid nationwide.
In the meantime, the May 26 lawsuit stemming from the attack is moving forward.
Greeley’s attorney Perry Hicks learned Jones reportedly attempted to purchase alcohol “at several Tombstone bars or taverns” in the hours prior to the unprovoked assault. Most of the establishments denied service to Jones or asked him to leave due to his apparent intoxication.
But the lawsuit alleges Vogan’s Alley Bistro is liable under Arizona’s dram shop law for “negligently serving” an “obviously intoxicated” Jones prior to the stabbing. The consumption of that alcohol “was a proximate cause of his attack” on Greeley,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit further alleges Vogan’s Alley Bistro breached their duty of care, resulting in a failure to protect others, including Greeley, from the threat of harm posed by Jones.
Greeley has also asked for punitive damages against Robby Jones “for his unprovoked, unjustified, intentional, and malicious” attack and to serve as an example to Robby and Debra Jones as well as “others similarly situated to refrain from such egregious misconduct in the future.”
The fact Jones left Tombstone shortly after the assault did not stop Hicks from tracking the Joneses to Slayton, Oregon to have the lawsuit personally served on Aug. 16.
The lawsuit, however, is not the only problem the owners of Vogan’s Alley Bistro is facing in connection with the stabbing.
The bistro, which also advertises as Vogan’s Alley Saloon, holds a Series 7 liquor license (beer and wine) and the Series 12 license (spiritous alcohol). Arizona Revised Statute 4-302 mandates all license holders to notify the Arizona Department of Liquor License and Control within 10 days of any legal action initiated in connection with the serving of alcohol.
Public records show DLLC was not contacted by anyone connected to Vogan’s Alley Bistro regarding the Greeley lawsuit. As a result, DLLC Det. Arturo Zacarias initiated an investigation last month during which he determined the license holder was aware of the lawsuit as of June 9.
The purported violation of state law has been forwarded to DLLC’s compliance unit for further action, according to the Zacarias report obtained by Arizona Daily Independent.
Deadlines for all the defendants to file an answer with the court have now passed. One option is for Greeley to file for a default judgment which if granted by a judge would allow him to move forward with presenting evidence of his damages.