Brothers Found Not Guilty on Charges of Batt LEO, Family Says Deputies Lied Under Oath
BROOKSVILLE – Just over one year ago RNRF reported the arrest of three people who allegedly battered Sheriff’s Deputies during a family disturbance at a residence on Stardust Way.
According to arrest affidavits, Salvatore Defranco, 24, Alexander “Joey” Defranco, 18, and Vanessa Steiger, 21, all faced charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest. The trio posted bond, retained counsel, and prepared to the case trial. CLICK HERE FOR ORIGINAL REPORT
On June 15th, 2016, after just three days of testimony a Jury found the brothers not guilty on all charges – but the story doesn’t end there.
After the trial, Georgette and Sal Sr., the boy’s parents, contacted RNRF regarding what they say were “lies” told by deputies in depositions and during the trial. I sat down with the family as few weeks ago, where they provided partial video of the incident and pointed out areas in testimony where they say Deputies lied. CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO
In the video you can see Joey being carried under the arms by Deputy Shaun Duval and Deputy Gregory Locke. Deputy Vincent Mascitelli is seen protecting the other two deputies but not having physical contact with Joey That’s where the Georgette says the inconsistencies begin.
The following are excerpts from deposition testimony between Mascitelli and the brother’s attorney, Scott Boardman:
[After Joey kicks Deputy Duval and is pepper sprayed, Mascitelli says he was kicked]
Q. Okay, but it was at that point that he kicked you?
A. Yeah, during – after Shaun (Duval) had given him the initial burst of the pepper spray.
Q. Okay, After the pepper spray he kicks?
Q. Where did he kick you?
A. In my legs.
Q. One leg or was it more than one kick?
A. I don’t recall. It was definitely one of my legs.
Q. Okay, The timing from the pepper spray to the first kick, how many seconds?
A. I don’t recall. It was quick.
The video clearly shows that Mascitelli was not kicked and he had no contact with Joey, despite claims that he helped carry him to the patrol car.
Before trial began, prosecutors dropped one charge of battery on a LEO after viewing the video.
Georgette brought another questionable piece of evidence to our attention; a written supplement added to Mascitelli’s arrest report, alleging that the Defranco family is “usually combative with law enforcement” and that they have “numerous years of training in mixed martial arts.” Both claims were unsubstantiated and untrue according to Georgette.
During the deposition Mascitelli is asked how many times he has responded to the residence. Mascitelli only recalled one but says there may have been two responses. The first call was to help resolve issues with the Defranco’s neighbors. Mascitelli says he helped the family with creating a safe firing range to alleviate concerns from their neighbors. Mascitelli couldn’t remember why he respond the second time.
Both allegations are unfounded, says Georgette, and she says the testimony was only added by Mascitelli to enhance perception that the family had a history of violence.
We contacted the Sheriff’s Office regarding the discrepancies and asked if they were going to open an investigation into the Defranco Case. Public Information Officer Denise Moloney responded “It is being looked into.” I later asked Moloney if the Sheriff’s Office could provide a comment regarding Mascitelli’s testimony; she said, “I’m trying to figure out the question you asked. At this point, I am unable to advise.”
The one issue that still remained is whether Joey was guilty of battering Dep. Duval when he kicked him in the leg. Throughout the video Joey and the Anthony Defranco (the one filming the video) are overheard several times saying that Joey has bad shoulders. Despite that information, Duval and Locke continue to carry Joey under the arms until he kicks Duval in the leg.
During the trial Georgette says Judge Toner addressed that issue by reading Florida Statute 776.012 – the use of non-deadly force. According to statute, A person is justified in the use of non-deadly force in self-defense where the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against such other’s imminent use of unlawful force.
We asked lead prosecutor Joseph Church what he thought of the acquittal and he said “I’m still scratching my head.” He believed the brothers were guilty and should have been convicted based on the evidence.
Georgette says the entire incident could have been avoided if the deputies had treated the situation as a Baker Act. Georgette says Joey suffered several losses in the years leading up to the incident and he was extremely depressed.
Georgette says “All the deputies lied under oath” and that’s why her sons were found not guilty.
Vanessa Steiger accepted a plea deal in lieu of taking her case to trial.
It should also be noted that Deputy Vincent Mascitelli was recently suspended after allegations emerged that he masturbated in his patrol car. Follow this link for the full story:DEPUTY SUSPENDED WITHOUT PAY AFTER ALLEGEDLY MASTURBATING IN HIS PATROL CAR
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