Galveston County man accused of using lawnmower to pelt family, including 9-year-old, with rocks

By Amanda Cochran - Social Media Producer, Brittany Jeffers - Reporter

GALVESTON COUNTY, Texas - A Galveston County man is accused of using a lawnmower last Saturday to fling gravel at his roommate, her 9-year-old daughter and ex-husband, according to court records.

Johnny Dewitt Manning, 72, is charged with injury to a child, criminal mischief and assault. 

Court records said cellphone video exists of the incident in the 5900 block of Moore Road. The woman and her daughter had painful face injuries as a result of the incident, according to authorities cited in court records. 

The woman's ex-husband told authorities Manning "does not like him," and that he was there to drop off his ex and her daughter.

In addition to injuries sustained by the people, the affidavit indicates the ex-husband’s GMC Yukon truck was pelted in the lawnmower bombardment. Deputies said in court documents that two of the truck’s windows were shattered, and the passenger side had several dents as well as paint, tire and wheel damage.

Deputies said when they arrived at the scene, Manning tried to elude them by hiding in his garage, and didn't want to talk about the incident, according to the affidavit. 

Investigators indicated that the grass was already cut and it appeared Manning drove the lawnmower for the “sole purpose” of throwing the rocks, according to court records. 

Manning was arrested, and once in custody, authorities claim he “made a spontaneous admission” that he had committed the acts and “would do so again if he had the chance,” according to the affidavit.

Manning is now out of the Santa Fe Jail on bond.

Angela Bennett and Chris Fontenot said they were caught in the cloud of gravel Sunday. They said Manning came flying at them.

“He came straight down the driveway and did a doughnut and just sprayed us -- it felt like bullets but it was gravel," Bennett said.

The couple is separated and Bennett was staying with Manning. They said when Fontenot dropped them off Saturday, something flipped.

“He was moving because he was shooting them rocks likes crazy," Fontenot said. "I wasn’t on his property. I didn’t do anything to aggravate him or make him mad or anything."

Manning told Channel 2 that he kicked Bennett out of the house three weeks ago.

“They instigated it by coming here; they had no business here, they don’t live here," Bennett said.

Manning claimed the couple called him names.

“That’s when I put some rocks on him," Manning said. "What I felt bad about, I really think the little girl was standing there and his wife was standing there. I should have waited until they got back into the car."

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