Jeff Nelms, 28, of Acworth and his wife, Kelly Mankin Nelms, were out late Saturday night with a few other couples celebrating her 29th birthday.
“We hardly ever go out and do anything,” said Katie Tatum, who has known the Nelmses since she met her boyfriend, Josh Nelms, Jeff’s brother, four years ago.
On Saturday night, Jeff Nelms was waiting in the parking lot of The Place Bar & Grill, near the corner of Sandy Plains Road and Canton Road in Marietta, for his wife to come out of the bathroom before heading home, Tatum said.
Kelly Nelms came out of the bar, Tatum said, when a man in a truck starting to make a pass at her.
Tatum said the Nelmses did not know the man. That man was John Myer of Smyrna, police say.
“They had never seen that guy in the bar,” Tatum said.
Tatum said Kelly Nelms accidentally bumped Myer’s truck, which resulted in Myer exiting the vehicle in an aggressive manner.
That is when, according to Tatum, Jeff Nelms intervened to protect his wife.
The verbal altercation escalated when Myer stabbed Nelms once in the chest with a pocketknife, according to the arrest warrant.
For Myer to be that quick with a folding blade, Tatum said, “he must have had it ready.”
Funds raised for local family
Myer, 28, fled the scene and was arrested at 2:22 a.m. Sunday on Shadybrook Drive on charges of aggravated assault, according to Marietta Police. Myer was released that afternoon on a $35,000 bond.
Jeff Nelms had emergency open-heart surgery this week, and remained in a medically induced coma Friday afternoon.
For six days, Jeff Nelms has been in the intensive care unit, and doctors do not expect him to be released for another week or two, Tatum said.
“He is nowhere near coming home,” Tatum said.
Jeff Nelms is raising a stepdaughter and two sons with Kelly Mankin Nelms. The youngest, Max, was born in September.
An online fundraising page, youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/jeff-nelms-fundraising-/126287, was set up by Jami Johnson for Nelms.
By Friday afternoon, the website had raised $2,713 from 57 supporters with donations ranging from $10 to $450.
“He doesn’t have insurance and his work does not have short-term disability and he is the sole provider for his family, making the next few weeks incredibly difficult,” Johnson wrote online.
Jeff Nelms is an electrician who works for Cherry Electric in Smyrna, Tatum said.
Kelly Nelms, a stay-at-home mom, is getting a lot of support, Tatum said, but “the kids, are yelling, ‘Dada, Dada,’” wanting their father to come home.