3 more women charged in attack on waitress at Fairview Heights Red Lobster

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by KMOV.com Staff / AP

KMOV.com

Posted on August 29, 2013 at 1:13 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 29 at 4:29 PM

BELLEVILLE, Ill. -- Three women were charged for their involvement in a 2011 attack on a Red Lobster waitress who was pummeled after serving the wrong fish order.

Denise McNeal, 43, of Jennings, Mo., Lareka McNeal, 29, of St. Louis, and Diane Ryland, 50, of St. Louis, were all charged with aggravated battery and mob action in connection with the attack on a waitress at a Fairview Heights' Red Lobster. 

A fourth woman, Ania Wilkes, 21, of Ferguson, Mo., was found guilty on Tuesday of felony assault and mob action, the Belleville News-Democrat reported. The St. Clair County jury deliberated about three hours.

Click here to watch cell phone video of the attack.

Authorities say the restaurant in Fairview Heights, just east of St. Louis, was busy on Dec. 30, 2011, when a server other than victim Heather Frink took the order from Wilkes and her companions.

Frink said when she brought the customers broiled fish instead of fried fish, she fixed the order and said it was complimentary because of the mistake. Frink said she was walking away to ask a manager if the table’s other meals would be served without charge when one of the women at the table called her a profane name.

“I turned around and told them they couldn’t talk to me like that,” she said. “That’s when Ania grabbed her glass and threw it at my face. I was in shock when it happened. My face was all wet, I was in awe, like, ‘Did that just really happen?’ “

Frink said the table’s four diners then began punching and pushing her, leaving her with cuts on her nose and forehead and a swollen eye. Frink also said she had to undergo physical therapy for injuries related to being punched in the back.

A customer recorded the attack on a cellphone video that went viral.

“It was a nightmare. I had nightmares about it,” Frink told the newspaper. “It was definitely traumatic to me.”

Frink said she expects to give a statement during Wilkes’ Oct. 3 sentencing, saying “her behavior is not acceptable” and Wilkes should be held accountable.

“You can’t just act that way in public,” she said of Wilkes, who is free on bond. “ ... You shouldn’t be afraid to go out and eat, and I shouldn’t be afraid to go work at my job.”

Watch video of the attack below or click here if using your mobile device.

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