A man ‘flew off the handle’ in a machete attack in a parking lot, Biloxi police say

Bernard Matheny
Bernard Matheny - Biloxi Police Department

One homeless man assaulted another with a machete-type weapon in the parking lot of Edgewater Mall, sending one to a hospital and the other to jail, police said.

The two men know each other, Biloxi Police Maj. Christopher De Back said.

The assault occurred in the south parking lot about 11 p.m. Monday, De Back said. the mall was closed.

The injured man was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Investigators obtained an arrest warrant for 55-year-old Bernard Matheny on an aggravated assault charge Wednesday and took him into custody.

Matheny was taken to the Harrison County jail Wednesday morning. What they argued about is unclear.

The victim described the weapon as a machete, but detectives said the knife has not been found.

“One of them flew off the handle, and that’s all we know for now,” De Back said. “It wasn’t affiliated with the mall.”

Justice Court Judge Bruce Strong set a $100,000 bond when he signed the arrest warrant.

It’s not uncommon to find homeless people with a machete, De Back said. They use the broad, heavy knife to clear brush or to an area to set up camp, he said.

Other machete incidents

Nearly a dozen other machete incidents, some deadly, have been reported in South Mississippi since 2004.

Here’s a look at those criminal cases from Sun Herald archives:

  • May 2018: Biloxi Police say Telly Savalas Dixon knocked on the door of a man’s residence at Palm Isle Apartments and attacked him with a machete. Dixon reportedly was naked but unarmed when police arrived.

  • January 2018: Teresa Bohanon allegedly struck a property owner with a machete in Lucedale while trespassing. Samuel Rouse, who was with her, reportedly pulled out a gun and fired a shot. Bohanon fought and bit the property owner and cut him with machete while Rouse assaulted him with the butt of his handgun. Police say the property owner pulled out a gun while they were still assaulting him and shot Rouse, 54, who died of a gunshot wound to the neck. Bohanon faces an aggravated assault charge.
  • May 2012: A Biloxi man used a machete to thwart a home invasion when two men he knew reportedly broke into his apartment on Stennis Drive to assault him over a previous argument. The resident had asked the two men to leave his apartment. They reportedly broke in while the man, a woman and baby were asleep. One of them had severe injuries to his arm and head from the machete. A grand jury declined to indict the suspects.
  • September 2011: Gregory Butler chased Darryl Wheaton more than half a mile in Gulfport after Wheaton reportedly cut him on the neck. Butler grabbed a machete, jumped on a bicycle to chase him from U.S. 49 to Polk Avenue, and struck him in the back of the head with the machete several times. Butler was convicted of aggravated assault. A grand jury declined to indict Wheaton.

  • March 2011: Stanley Doneal Hands, then 31, was accused of attacking an acquaintance with a machete on 20th Street, causing serious injuries. Hands was sent to prison.

  • September 2009: Grady Wells hit a vehicle in Gautier and ran from police. Police said he stopped his Mercedes on Live Oak in Pascagoula, and got out of the car with a machete. An officer fired three shots and Wells drove off, knocking a police officer off his motorcycle. Wells turned around but was blocked in by police. He got out of the car again with what looked like a machete. Police fired four shots. Wells was struck and died on the pavement. A grand jury cleared the officers of wrong-doing.

  • July 2009: Christopher Joseph Smith used a machete to kill and dismember Terry William Self, 54, on Washington Street in Bay St. Louis. In 2011, Self, then 31, admitted he had been on a five-day binge of “drinking and doing meth.” Smith is serving life in prison.

  • September 2007: A 42-year-old Lucedale man who ran from Jackson County deputies stopped and went after one of them with a machete in a chase in Hurley, officials said.

  • November 2006: Pablo Oliva killed his wife with a machete at their home in Pearl River County. He slashed her throat. He’s now serving time in prison for manslaughter and kidnapping.

  • January 2006: Wayne Stephen Parks, described as a woodsman and a hermit, covered himself in “war paint” before assaulting two men with a machete in Hancock County, officials said. He avoided prosecution, but his skeletal remains were found two years later by people riding four-wheelers in rugged terrain.

  • March 2004: Roger Wayne Vonaspern attacked a neighbor in Gulfport with a machete at a boarding house at 22nd Street and 22nd Avenue. Vonaspern, a military veteran and Lousiana native, received a 17-year prison term.

— Sun Herald archives

Robin Fitzgerald, 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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