McDonald’s Employee Accused in Bathroom Attack on Customer Heads Back to Prison

(WCHS) A now former Elkview McDonald’s employee who is accused of stabbing and robbing a customer in the restaurant’s bathroom is headed back to prison for crimes he was on probation for at the time of the alleged attack.

Richard Thornton, 31, of Elkview is charged with malicious assault, first-degree robbery and possession of a deadly weapon after a Jan. 17 incident at the McDonald’s at the Crossings Mall.

At the time of the arrest, Thornton was on probation in connection to a 2019 case where he was arrested for pulling a knife on a paramedic while riding in the back of an ambulance in Elkview. Investigators said he chased the paramedics along Interstate 79 before he was taken into custody. He later pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted malicious wounding and had already served nearly three years of a two to six years sentence in that case before being put on probation.

During a probation violation hearing on Thursday, Thornton admitted to violating that probation by drinking alcohol on New Year’s Eve and obtaining the new felony charges.

Judge Kenneth Ballard ordered him back into the custody of the Division of Corrections to finish serving about a month left on the sentence of the 2019 attempted malicious wounding charges.

When that sentence is complete, Thornton would have to post a $100,000 cash only bond on the new charges to be released.

Investigators said Thornton had clocked out at 3 p.m. after his shift at McDonald’s and waited at the restaurant for a ride before his arrest in January. Deputies said Thornton followed a man, who had just ordered, into the restroom about 4:30 p.m. Witnesses reported that Thornton demanded the man give up his wallet and then stabbed him in the face and neck. Deputies said he took the victim’s wallet and other belongings and ran out of the door at McDonald’s.

Shortly after the incident, McDonald’s said in a statement that the company had taken “swift action” and Thornton was no longer employed there.