Intoxicated man punches Tompkins County judge in face
ITHACA, N.Y. -- An intoxicated man punched a Tompkins County Judge in the face Sunday night and swung a metal J-hook at him, court records show.
Carmen D. Dechellis, 56, is facing a felony charge of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and misdemeanors for fourth-degree criminal mischief, third-degree attempted assault, and third-degree menacing. He's also facing at least one violation for trespassing.
According to court documents, Judge John Rowley was with his wife at a building on the West Side of Ithaca when Dechellis joined a group of people who were having a discussion.
Dechellis -- who has previously been arrested and charged with a slew of offenses he's committed while intoxicated -- is banned from the building.
Rowley said in a written voluntary statement that Dechellis smelled of alcohol and was "distracting and disruptive."
"I politely but clearly told him that he had to leave. Carmen stood up, and I escorted him out of the room into the rear entrance way of the building. I was aware Carmen was banned from the building," Rowley said.
At the doorway, Dechellis refused to leave the building because he said he was waiting for a ride. He taunted Rowley, asking if he would call the police.
Rowley said he would call the police because Dechellis is not permitted in the building.
"Carmen then snapped and started yelling. I became scared at this point that Carmen was going to attack me and physically harm me. Carmen did then proceed to swing wildly at me with his right, closed fist, punching me in the left side of my face. The impact caused me to drop my phone. Carmen attempted to stomp on my phone with his foot. Carmen was too intoxicated to hit it though. I quickly reached down and grabbed my phone, then stepped back," Rowley wrote, saying that multiple people then intervened in the incident.
One of the people who intervened was 54-year-old Groton resident William Reap.
Reap said he was also aware that Dechellis was banned from the building, and he saw the man walking through the halls with a metal J-hook. He was also aware that Dechellis attacked another person at the same location previously. So Reap tried to follow Dechellis and found him attacking Rowley.
After Rowley dropped his phone, Reap said, "Carmen then swung the J-hook back with his arm, ad if he was about to strike Rowley with it. I grabbed the piece of metal from Carmen's hand, and said, 'You're not hitting anyone tonight!' Carmen then stated to me in a threatening manner, 'I know where you live!'"
Police were able to later find Dechellis and took him into custody. He's currently in custody at the Tompkins County Jail without bail. His felony preliminary hearing is scheduled Friday afternoon at the Ithaca City Court.APRIL 6, 2017
BY JOLENE ALMENDAREZ