A man delivering Chinese food was beaten and left for dead on an Independence street after a robbery.
The 51-year-old man is in an area hospital battling for his life.
On Wednesday, a judge set bond at $500 million each for two men and a woman charged in connection with the crime. All three proclaimed their innocence Wednesday.
Prosecutors announced on Tuesday charges against three accused of beating the man with a baseball bat. Doctors say the man suffered multiple fractures to his face and head and may not survive.
The attack has devastated customers who describe the victim as a upbeat and happy man who was absolutely a joy to customers.
Independence police were dispatched about 10:30 p.m. Friday to the 2200 block of South Hall Street on a reported medical call.
When officers arrived, they found the man lying in the roadway in front of an abandoned house. Police said the man appeared to have been beaten and had significant injuries to his face.
The man was transported to an area hospital where he remains in critical condition. The man was delivering food for Mandarin House restaurant on East 23rd Street. The house he was sent to was vacant and his attackers were waiting for him.
Witnesses described seeing two men in their early 20s assault the victim.
Two men and a woman were charged Tuesday. James M. Hollis, 20, of Independence, Luis A. Reyes, 17, of Kansas City, and Brandy N. Locke, 29, of Independence, who is Hollis' girlfriend. Each were charged with one count of first-degree assault and armed criminal action.
The three made their first court appearance on Jan. 16 and they denied the allegations.
"We're innocent," Locke said. "We didn't do nothing. Why would someone admit something they didn't do?"
Reyes also denied having any involvement in the attack.
"I don't know what they're talking about," he said, before adding to KCTV5's camera, "Hi mom."
Witnesses told police that Hollis and Reyes tried to rob the delivery man and beat him with their fists and a baseball bat. One witness said the three discussed creating an alibi and dumping bloody clothes.
Hollis told police that Locke called for the delivery with the intent to rob the delivery driver, according to court documents. He said he and Reyes planned to rob the driver of his food and money. Hollis said Reyes struck the delivery driver at least five times with the bat, according to court documents.
"I didn't make any phone call. I didn't call. I didn't do nothing," Locke said.
Reyes said he had done nothing to be sorry for.
Locke denied any involvement while Reyes initially denied any involvement, according to court documents. He later said, "It happened and that's all I'm going to say to you," according to court documents.
Evelyn Miller who lives in the neighborhood said the vacant house is a neighborhood eyesore that attracts vagrants.
"It's abandoned. It's dark," she said. "The doors are opened all the time."
Friends and colleagues at the restaurant say the man cannot speak and is unable to open his eyes.
Restaurant drivers carry little cash, Mandarin house workers said.
Police are asking if anyone has any information regarding the suspects or the crime committed, to call the TIPS Hotline at 474-8477 or the Independence Police Department at 816-325-7330, or 816-836-3600.
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