Jerry Ficht, left, with his attorney, Vincenzo Manzella, appear in Macomb County Circuit Court June 28, 2016 for Ficht's sentencing in the 2015 assault of his Macomb Township neighbor. (Photo: Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press)
Jerry Ficht, left, with his attorney, Vincenzo Manzella, appear in Macomb County Circuit Court June 28, 2016 for Ficht’s sentencing in the 2015 assault of his Macomb Township neighbor. (Photo: Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press)

When 53-year-old Steve Miller was brutally attacked by his neighbor over autumn leaves, it was his beloved who rushed to his defense armed with her .38-caliber revolver.

In November 2015, Miller was using a leaf blower to clear the leaves off his property in the Camelot Villa mobile home park in Macomb Township, MI. That’s when police say his intoxicated neighbor, Jerry Thomas Ficht, became enraged at the sight of leaves on his own driveway. Fight began screaming at Miller before becoming so enraged, he attacked – beating him in the head with his fists.

The attack on Miller was ended by Bonnie La Rose, Miller’s girlfriend of 13 years, after she rushed out of the house, positioned herself directly over her boyfriend’s body and aimed her gun at Ficht’s chest. She said she was ready to pull the trigger and told him: “I’m (expletive) going to kill you. He stopped. He knew I meant it.”

La Rose never had to fire her weapon, Ficht complied with her commands and retreated to his home where he later was arrested by sheriff’s deputies.

She also said Miller was hit by a drunk driver in a hit-and-run more than 20 years ago that resulted in a head injury, broken ribs and a broken jaw that left him handicapped with hearing loss and balance issues.

Referring to the assault he endured last fall, Miller said Ficht “beat a handicapped man. Now, I’m disabled. Go figure.”

The assault left Miller with headaches, dizziness, balance issues and short-term memory loss, but one thing is crystal clear in his mind. Ficht, convicted by a jury in May of assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder and facing a 10-year felony plus additional prison time due to prior convictions, is finally behind bars where he belongs.

“He deserves it. He’s gonna kill someone some day,” Miller said.

Ficht appeared in Macomb County Circuit Court for his sentencing hearing on June 28, 2016, which the judge adjourned until July.