McDonald’s employee followed customer to bathroom and stabbed him in face and neck

ELKVIEW, WV – In what can be described as a harrowing encounter, a former McDonald’s worker was condemned to a century in prison for a shocking assault and robbery. Richard W. Thornton, 32, was sentenced on Monday by Circuit Court Judge Kenneth D. Ballard after a brutal incident where Thornton stabbed a 56-year-old customer multiple times in the bathroom of the fast-food restaurant and then fled with the victim’s wallet.

During the sentencing at the Kanawha County Circuit Court, Judge Ballard berated Thornton for the unprovoked and vicious nature of the attack. Thornton had a history of violence that included menacing family members and emergency service personnel with weapons. Due to his past and the severity of this crime, Judge Ballard deemed Thornton a considerable threat to public safety, necessitating the 100-year sentence. Thornton had already been in custody for 492 days which will be credited toward his sentence.

The gruesome attack took place on January 17, 2023, with the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office swiftly responding to the scene at a McDonald’s in Elkview. The victim, who sustained life-threatening injuries to his face and neck, was rushed to the Charleston Area Medical Center for emergency treatment. Thornton, who had been employed at the establishment, was apprehended shortly after the incident at a nearby Speedway convenience store, in possession of the victim’s wallet and a knife covered in blood.

This was not Thornton’s first encounter with the law; he was on probation for a 2019 incident in which he tried to stab a paramedic while being transported in an ambulance. At that time, he admitted to being under the influence of methamphetamine and bath salts and was convicted of attempted malicious wounding.

Thornton’s long criminal history and the heinous nature of the McDonald’s bathroom stabbing culminated in a sentence that would likely ensure he will not pose a further risk to society, as per Judge Ballard’s ruling. The community of Elkview, rattled by the violence that occurred in such a commonplace setting, now sees a measure of justice served with Thornton’s imprisonment.