GREENFIELD — An argument over a missing $6 sparked a fistfight that left one man in the hospital in a coma and another in jail facing a charge of aggravated battery, police said.
Andrew Knuckles, 21, of Greenfield, faces a Level 3 felony charge amid accusations he beat another Greenfield man, causing injuries so severe the victim was placed in a medically induced coma at an Indianapolis hospital and had several surgeries to repair internal injuries, according to court documents.
At one point, the man’s condition was so grave that investigators feared he might die, Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton said.
Knuckles pleaded not guilty in Hancock Circuit Court and was being held Wednesday at the Hancock County Jail on a $10,000 cash bond, jail records show.
Early Sunday, a man was rushed to the hospital after a neighbor heard him moaning loudly and found him lying in the yard of Washington Village Apartments in the 4400 block of Lake Potomac Drive, court documents state.
Family members told police Knuckles was the last person seen with the victim, court documents state.
The victim and Knuckles had been drinking together at Knuckles’ Greenfield home on Saturday, the victim’s brother told police. They believed Knuckles when he said the victim had been beaten by someone else and possibly robbed, the brother said.
The family contacted police when they learned the extent of the man’s injuries and hoped to learn more about what happened, police said.
The victim suffered multiple internal injuries, court documents state. He had to have his spleen removed, and he suffered lacerations to his liver, along with injuries to his kidneys and pancreas. Doctors at Indiana University Heath Methodist Hospital placed the victim in a medically induced coma because of the damage to his organs, court documents state.
The man underwent another surgery Tuesday and remained hospitalized Wednesday, prosecutors said.
Knuckles was questioned by police Monday before his arrest, and he admitted he fought with the man but believed the fight lasted only a few seconds and was not serious enough to have caused his injuries, court documents state.
Knuckles told police the victim became “drunk and belligerent” while they were together, and Knuckles and his girlfriend drove him home.
Knuckles said the victim began accusing the woman of taking $6 from him, court documents state. The victim grabbed the woman by the collar, and Knuckles said he intervened, court documents state.
Knuckles told police he “restrained” the victim, and they fell to the ground. He did not believe the fight would have caused the man serious injury, court documents state.
Police tried to contact Knuckle’s girlfriend for questioning, but the woman said her parents would not allow her to give a statement, court records state.