A Joliet man headed off to prison for gouging out his uncle's eye sent a letter to the judge explaining the attack was due to his suffering from "schizo effect."
Exulam Holman, 33, also told how he was not taking medication for this condition, and that led to his shoving his thumbs into the eye sockets of his 63-year-old uncle, leaving the older man blind in one eye and partially blind in the other.
Holman also wrote in his letter to Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak that his uncle Melvin Clifford actually attacked him, and that he was merely defending himself.
Holman was set to be sentenced Thursday but the hearing was postponed due to the letter. Holman's attorney, Robert Bodach, said the letter indicated Holman has "psychological issues."
Holman attacked and fought his uncle over a television remote control on New Year's Eve.
Holman pushed his uncle down the stairs of the Joliet Township house where they were living. When Clifford climbed back up the stairs Holman knocked him to the floor, used his knees to pin the older man's shoulders to the ground and pushed his thumbs into his eye sockets.
Holman's mother—and Clifford's sister—blamed her brother for the fight.
In an August 31 letter to Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak, Holman's mother, Nanetta Johnson, said Clifford moved into her family's McKay Street home under the pretense he would be staying three months. Those three months turned into eight years, Johnson said, even though she continually asked her husband to "put him out."
This seems charitable of her husband in light of an incident Johnson claims occurred during a television news report on deceased singer Whitney Houston.
Johnson said Clifford "threatened to beat my husband in the head with his cane when Whitney Houston was on the 20/20 segment," and that during this altercation her "husband went to get the meat cleaver."
Clifford "caused all this shame and mockery," Johnson wrote. "He jumped on my son when he was intoxicated and was hoping to give him a beat down."
That was one of Clifford's old tricks, according to Johnson.
"If my son would have been sober he wouldn't have touched him," she said. "That's an old tactic my brother used on his brother when he was living, attack people when they're drunk."
Johnson also accused her brother of having an "evil eye." She did not specify if the evil eye was the one her son gouged out or the one Clifford kept.
In his own letter to the judge, Holman expressed a willingness to put this painful chapter in his life behind him.
"I just want this to be over with so I can move on with my life," he said. "Despite how I may look with these tattoos on my face I am really not a bad person. If you give me a chance I would prove it to you."