By joe gorman
It was 6 cents that caused Thomas Tubbs to come back to the East Side gas station he frequented and punch the clerk.
Monday, he entered a guilty plea to a charge of felonious assault before Judge Lou D’Apolito in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court and said he knew he was wrong.
“I won’t blame it on the drinking,” Tubbs said. “I’ll blame it on my stupidity.”
Tubbs will not be sentenced until a presentence investigation is completed. Assistant Prosecutor Jeffrey Davis said prosecutors will abide by whatever sentence is recommended in the report.
Tubbs said the punching of the clerk on May 2 at the gas station at the corner of Oak Street and Early Road started because of a dispute over 6 cents of gasoline.
Tubbs said he was a regular customer at the store, and sometime in late April he wanted to buy $5 of gas but had only $4.94. The clerk would not allow him to get the whole $5, and an argument ensued that got heated, Tubbs said. He said he and the clerk were slapping each other before he drove away.
On May 2, about a week later, he said he had been drinking a little bit and came back to the station. Tubbs said the clerk came from behind the counter and put his hands up like he wanted to fight and Tubbs decked him with a single punch.
His attorney, Lou DeFabio, said surveillance tape from the store showed that Tubbs landed a couple of other punches.
The clerk never threw a punch, Davis said.
Tubbs told Judge D’Apolito the dispute had been simmering in his mind the entire week before he came back.
“In my mind I thought it was dead wrong,” Tubbs said.
Judge D’Apolito told Tubbs he thought some sort of jail time is appropriate in the case. The charge is a felony because the clerk was required to get stitches for his injuries.
Records show that Tubbs was sentenced to 21 to 36 years in prison in March 1992 on charges of involuntary manslaughter and felonious assault and a firearm specification for a 1991 shooting in which a man died and his brother was wounded in 1991. Prosecutors at the time said the shooting stemmed from an argument over a bicycle.