By Diana Hefley Herald Writer
EVERETT — Willie Tiff told the cops he overreacted when he suspected a buddy stole his Zippo lighter.
He demanded the man empty his pockets. Tiff grabbed the man’s cellphone and then he reached for a machete. Tiff is accused of slashing the man in the face, leaving a nearly 8-inch gash.
The blade also broke bones in the man’s face and severed a nerve. The man required surgery at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Prosecutors have charged Tiff with first-degree assault with a weapon. He was being held on $150,000 bail. Tiff, 35, has prior convictions for assault, forgery and cocaine possession.
The injured man told police that he was helping Tiff with a yard sale on April 27 at an Everett home. Tiff accused him of stealing a Zippo brand lighter and other small items. The man denied stealing anything.
The defendant asked the man to step outside and asked him to empty his pockets. A short time later, he went back into the house and came out toting a machete. He swung at his friend and struck him in the head. He cut the man from his left ear to his nose, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Edirin Okoloko wrote.
Police found the injured man covered in blood.
Tiff first told cops that the man called him a derogatory name, offered to pay him too much for a refrigerator and assaulted him. He said he swung at the man to fight him off. Later when officers told Tiff his story didn’t match those of witnesses, he allegedly admitted that the man disrespected him and stole some of his stuff.
He told police that “he reacted the wrong way,” and offered to take the injured man to the hospital, Okoloko wrote.
Police searched the house and found a machete in the kitchen garbage.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463, email@example.com