By Michael E. Miller
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"Give me all your money," Krebs yelled. He ran up behind the couple and hooked his arm around Jeffrey Clayton's neck, putting him in a chokehold, according to court documents.
Clayton struggled against Krebs' muscular arms. Krebs, however, had that stubborn strength of a drunkard. He'd been ordered to leave a nearby restaurant earlier for drinking too much and getting too rowdy. Krebs refused. He started spitting on the bar. Right after the owners locked Krebs out, he jumped Clayton.
"I have no money," Clayton pleaded. Krebs tightened his grip. Grissel Garcia looked on helplessly.
Clayton kept wrestling against Krebs' bulk, a built-up stockiness left over from Krebs' days on his high school's football team. Somehow, though, Clayton twisted free, and Krebs, now as scared as he was drunk, ducked into the bushes.
A few minutes later, two cops found Krebs hiding out in a side lot. Krebs saw them and tried to break into a nearby building. An officer told Krebs to freeze. Krebs charged them. He closed his fist and started swinging. The officers struggled to handcuff him. Krebs grabbed for one of the officers' batons. They pushed him to the ground. All the way down, he threw punches and kicks.
The officers fought back. Krebs had to be hospitalized before being taken to jail. When he was strapped to the ambulance's stretcher, he tried to break loose and continued to kick. At the hospital, one of Krebs' kicks landed on a nurse's face.
Police charged Krebs with three counts of assault, resisting arrest, public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and vandalism. He pleaded guilty in 2004 and got probation.
People who knew Krebs weren't surprised by this kind of behavior. They always thought he was headed for something bad. In high school, in East Grand Rapids, Michigan, Krebs reportedly started throwing booze, pot, and porn-filled parties as early as seventh grade. Those who knew Krebs declined to be named, for concerns over personal safety.
One of his schoolmates, whose sister dated Krebs long-term, said that Krebs would treat her sweetly when the couple was alone but would be rude when they were in front of other people. One time, this schoolmate said, Krebs smacked the girl and made a lewd comment about her — in front of him. "My dad pushed him off the porch once," the schoolmate said. "And I beat the crap out of him."
Krebs, the schoolmate said, tried to be polite to the girl's father but still couldn't get on the family's good side. "He had that insecurity — if you weren't an athlete or something, he might call you a fag or something like that," he said. "It was very common for him to use that kind of language like 'Hey, fuckface,' that kind of thing."
Acquaintances say that Krebs' alcohol abuse began catching up with him as early as his sophomore year of high school. Krebs reportedly showed up to school drunk and would often get into fights. One time, they say, Krebs was so intoxicated that he urinated in the school library's water fountain.
For a time, though, it did seem as if Krebs could keep his wild ways in check. He attended college in Tennessee after graduating high school in 1991. According to his LinkedIn profile, he graduated with a master's in pharmacology counseling from the University of Michigan. Krebs got a job as a pharmaceutical rep in Illinois. A search of local court records from that time showed no filings or judgments against him.
The most chilling event of Krebs' criminal past took place on May 22, 2005, since it most eerily resembles the recent incident at Fishtales. According to a police complaint, Krebs was leaving Voodoo Lounge, a bar in Chattanooga's main entertainment district, after getting into a fight. He called a female friend who had been at the bar, asking whether she had his cell phone.
"I told him we would call him when he was sober in the morning," she wrote in a police affidavit. The woman and her roommate returned to their apartment and were sitting on the steps. They noticed a cab drop someone off at the building. Krebs came up the back steps and walked in front of them. He asked about his cell phone. "I told him I didn't know," she said. "Maybe a friend that was with us had it."
Krebs pulled out a knife. He put the blade against the woman's throat. Then he slid the knife against her roommate's neck. "Give me a good reason why I shouldn't kill the both of you right now," Krebs reportedly said.
The woman ran down the hall. She beat on her neighbor's door for help. Nobody answered. She dialed 911 on her cell phone. Her roommate darted away from Krebs and tried to get into their apartment. The woman and her roommate struggled with the keys as Krebs walked down the hall toward them.
"I'm going to be back to kill you and your daughter too, bitch," he reportedly said about her 15-month-old.
Just as Krebs neared them, the roommates got into the apartment. Once inside, they locked the door and waited for police. Krebs was later arrested. Again, he got probation.