Assault charges involving family dropped against boxer
PITTSBURGH (AP) Prosecutors dropped assault charges against former lightweight boxing champ Paul Spadafora for allegedly stabbing his brother and kicking his mother during a family dispute, though he's still charged with threatening city police officers who intervened, and spitting on one.
Spadafora waived a preliminary hearing Wednesday on an aggravated assault charge - for allegedly spitting at the officer - several counts of making terroristic threats and resisting arrest stemming from the Dec. 21 fracas.
The charges involving his family members were dropped because the family failed to show at Wednesday's preliminary hearing and two prior hearings that were also postponed because Spadafora's mother, Ann, didn't appear, defense attorney William Difenderfer said.
Difenderfer plans to seek a bond hearing next week so Spadafora can get out of jail and enter an in-patient alcohol treatment program. The remaining charges will be ''resolved'' - the attorney didn't say how - in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.
Spadafora, 41, won the vacant International Boxing Federation lightweight belt in 1999 but surrendered the title in 2003 and was charged with shooting his then-girlfriend. He spent 13 months in a state prison boot camp, and several boxing comebacks have been pockmarked by alcohol-related arrests.
''Other than some serious issues with his upbringing,'' Spadafora is fine and just needs help with his alcoholism, said Difenderfer, who has represented Spadafora in many of his legal scrapes. ''I love the kid.''
''He's truly remorseful for what happened to the police. He told me to apologize to the officer'' he's charged with spitting on ''and I did,'' Difenderfer said.
Spadafora's brother, Charles Marsico, told police the boxer stabbed him in the thigh that December night. Ann Spadafora told police her son had come home high and began arguing with his brother.
Officers found cookie utensils and broken ceramic items on the front lawn and contend the boxer ''assumed a fighting stance'' when police arrived. Spadafora told his mother he was ''gonna kill'' the officers, police said. Officers subdued Spadafora with a stun gun and put a mask on him after he spat at one officer.
Despite his criminal history, Spadafora wasn't on parole or probation in December.
In May, he agreed to take anger management classes to resolve charges that he put a 63-year-old woman in a headlock at a Pittsburgh-area bar, drank her beer and then threw her down when she went outside to call police in April.
He also pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was fined $300 in May for another incident at a convenience store in Armstrong County.
A clerk told police Spadafora appeared to be drunk while holding a blueberry muffin in one hand and an opened, folding tactical knife in the other and yelling incoherently. Spadafora's defense attorney in that case called it a ''prank'' and said Spadafora pulled the knife so he could spread butter on the muffin.