Man claims self-defense in fast food machete attack

An Oakland man testified Thursday that he acted in self-defense when he used a machete to chop off four fingers from a man he said was attacking him after they got into an argument at an East Oakland fast food restaurant parking lot last year.

John Nolan Henry II, 25, who could be sentenced to life in prison if he’s convicted of the aggravated mayhem charge he faces, said the incident occurred after he nearly struck the other man in the drive-thru lane of the Jack in the Box restaurant on Hegenberger Road at about 9:15 p.m. on March 23, 2015.

Henry, who makes rap videos under the name “Militant Bamsavage,” said he didn’t think much about the near miss but after he ordered his food and was waiting for it to be prepared the other man, a 39-year-old Oakland resident, approached his car, yelled at him and threatened him.

Henry said, “My life was on the line” so he eventually struck the other man with a machete he said he always carried in his car.

Henry said he had the machete because he’d formerly worked as a landscaper but admitted under cross-examination by prosecutor Chris Cavagnaro that he hadn’t needed it for work for about a year before the incident.

Under questioning by his lawyer, Kathleen Guneratne, Henry said, “I feel bad” about chopping off the other man’s fingers and, “I wish it didn’t happen.” Henry said, “I just wanted him to get away.”

The victim survived the attack and testified against Henry earlier in the trial.

Cavagnaro and Guneratne will present their closing arguments in Henry’s trial next week.