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Testimony details fracas in Clermont pizza shop headlock case
Man charged with assault, battery after alleged fracas with owner who fired him
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Hall County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Mark Mason gives testimony Friday morning in Hall County Magistrate Court during a committal hearing for Brandon Cole Burtz. Burtz is accused of choking a Clermont pizza restaurant owner and taking a pair of designer sunglasses shortly after being terminated from his job at the business.

A customer at a Clermont pizza shop helped end an alleged fight between a former employee and the owner, according to testimony Friday.

Brandon Cole Burtz, 24, appeared Friday in Magistrate Court to answer to charges of aggravated assault, battery, criminal trespass on property and theft by taking.

Hall County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Mark Mason testified at the hearing how Burtz allegedly placed Jody Veal, owner of Mr. Edd’s Pizza Plus, in a headlock.

“Mr. Veal stated specifically in his statement that he was in fear for his life, that he thought at that particular time that was when he was going to die,” Mason said.

The incident allegedly occurred March 3 at the Cleveland Highway shop, where Veal said he had issues with Burtz’s job performance.

“Approximately lunchtime around noon, Mr. Burtz decided to go to leave the store and go outside during their lunch rush and talk to a friend outside,” Mason said.

Veal had another talk with Burtz, Mason said, leading to Burtz’s termination.

Mason testified that Burtz allegedly returned that same day and came in through the employee entrance. He is accused of taking a pair of Veal’s sunglasses worth $1,000, Mason said.

An employee “followed (Burtz) out to try and make an attempt to collect the money that was owed to the store,” Mason said.

Veal exited the store, and the fight allegedly ensued, Mason said.

“His face was severely swollen from one cheek to the other,” Mason said of Veal, adding that his face looked purple.

The employee ran inside the business asking for help, and a customer with a concealed weapon walked outside.

“He went to reach for his weapon approaching Brandon Burtz,” Mason said. “He assumes that Brandon Burtz saw him reaching for the gun, and that’s when he let go of him.”

All charges were moved on to Superior Court.

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