Final suspect set for trial in strip club torture case

Sunday Times Newspapers

LINCOLN PARK — Nearly a year later, the last of four defendants charged with a host of torture and assault charges at Bada Bing! Lounge was declared competent for trial, and faces a final exam Wednesday before going before a jury.

Ryan English, 26, was cleared Monday after a competency hearing held before Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Morrow. English was one of four men charged with assaulting Dennis Cole, 38, in the basement of the all-nude club in September 2010.

In a scene described by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy as something out of a brutal crime movie, it was alleged that Cole went to the club early the morning of Sept. 8 to collect pay for unspecified work. Instead, he was taken to the basement and bound to a chair, where English and Henry Ramirez, 36, Coty Grifka, 27, and Nathaniel Brewer, 23, pistol-whipped Cole, hit him with a hammer and took a power drill to his hand.

“This is not a Hollywood movie,” Worthy said when the men were arraigned last year. “The alleged behavior is outrageous and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Following the torture session, during which Cole lost several teeth and sustained numerous cuts, Cole made it to the Lincoln Park Police station to report the crime, explaining that he went to the club to collect money he was owed. At the time, about 2:30 a.m., Cole had his two children waiting in the vehicle.

Ramirez, reportedly a bouncer for the club and the one who allegedly used the power drill, faced the most serious of the charges, torture, which carries a possible life sentence. Shortly before a scheduled jury trial in May, Ramirez entered a no contest plea and accepted a sentencing agreement to serve from four to 10 years in prison for torture and two years for felony firearm possession.

Grifka and Brewer reached similar agreements in December. Brewer pled guilty to assault with intent to do great bodily harm, a 10-year felony, and was sentenced in May to 12 months in the Wayne County Jail, of which he had served 240 days at the time of sentencing. Grifka entered a no contest plea to felonious assault, a four-year felony, and was sentenced to six months in jail.

English remains free after posting 10 percent of a $100,000 bond.

(James Mitchell can be reached at