Man gets 24 hours probation for grabbing alleged vandal

October 04, 2012|By DON AINES |

HAGERSTOWN — A Washington County Circuit Court judge gave a Williamsport man 24 hours of unsupervised probation for grabbing one of four boys who he alleged was vandalizing his home.

Vincent Allen Strewsewski, 45, entered an Alford plea to second-degree assault, a misdemeanor carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years.

An Alford plea is not an admission of guilt, but an acknowledgment that the state has enough evidence to gain a conviction.

Judge Daniel P. Dwyer accepted the plea and gave Strewsewski probation before judgment and one day on probation. Probation before judgment can be expunged from a person’s record upon successfully completing probation.

“I did prevent him from fleeing by grabbing him,” Strewsewski told Dwyer. He denied having punched the boy.

“Usually, I’d love to get a PBJ (probation before judgment)” for a client, defense attorney D. Benson Thompson III told Dwyer. However, Strewsewski had been victimized by vandals before the night in question, as well as after the incident, Thompson said.

Police had told Strewsewski they could not help him unless he caught someone in the act, Thompson told Dwyer.

Shortly after 9:30 p.m. on April 11 Washington County Sheriff’s deputies went to Strewsewski’s August Court home for a report of trespassing, the application for statement of charges said. Strewsewski told the deputies he heard something strike his door and, upon opening it, saw several juveniles running away, the document said.

Strewsewski was able to catch one of the four before he could get into a car on Paxton Drive and took him back to his property, the charging document said. The boy, who has since turned 17, told police the names of the other boys involved, the document said.
Strewsewski was given their addresses by the Washington County Emergency Communications Center so that he could send them no trespassing letters, the charging document said.

A deputy then took the one boy back to his home and told his mother about the incident, the charging document said. The mother asked her son if Strewsewski touched him and the boy said he had been struck in the face several times and dragged back to Strewsewski’s house, the document said.

The deputy saw “a slight red mark” on the boy’s cheek, the charging document said.

“It looks like your guy should be able to leave more than a slight red mark,” Dwyer told Thompson. Court records listed Strewsewski as just under 6 feet tall and 250 pounds.

“I exercised extreme restraint that night,” Strewsewski told the judge.

In the charging document, Strewsewski denied hitting the boy, but told deputies he escorted him back to his property and made him lie face down in the grass.

Strewsewski said after the plea hearing that one of the juveniles did cooperate with Juvenile Services and paid restitution for damage to the door.

Strewsewski said he felt “strong-armed” by the state to take the plea deal.

He also showed a printout of tweets from August in which the boy he caught is apparently joking about the incident.

Assistant State’s Attorney Michele Hansen said afterward that Strewsewski could have requested a trial and, if he did so, the boy was willing to testify against him.

Strewsewski said he filed a complaint with the State’s Attorney’s Office against the juveniles.

Deputy State’s Attorney Steven Kessell said Thursday he reviewed the complaint and declined to authorize the filing of juvenile petitions based on the belief it would be difficult to prove their involvement beyond a reasonable doubt. The matter was referred back to juvenile services, he said.

Kessell said he did not know what actions Juvenile Services took with the juveniles.

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