Man charged with as­sault waives hear­ing

North Penn Life - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael Alan Gold­berg mgold­berg@21st-cen­tu­ryme dia.com

With a shack­led hand, a Snif­fling Michel Pas­sarella wiped tears from his eyes in­side Judge An­drea Hu­dak Duffy’s court­room July 22 as his lawyer and county pros­e­cu­tors worked out a deal by which the 35-yearold man — ac­cused of shoot­ing his mother with a BB pis­tol, in­jur­ing her and then rob­bing money from her to re­port­edly pay off his drug dealer dur­ing an al­leged in­ci­dent ear­lier this month — waived his pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing.

“I’m in jail ... I’m in jail,” Pas­sarella, of the 100 block of Steeple­chase Drive, mut­tered re­peat­edly, shrug­ging and slump­ing in his chair as Duffy asked him if he was seek­ing sub­stance abuse treat­ment or un­der­go­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal eval­u­a­tion while be­hind bars.

As part of the waiver County As­sis­tant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Christopher Dean ex­plained to the court­room, one count each of felony ag­gra­vated as­sault and felony rob­bery were with­drawn.

How­ever, three ad­di­tional charges — all drug-re— Pas­sarella July 22 per an amended po­lice crim­i­nal com­plaint.

Pas­sarella will now pro­ceed to county court, where he’ll be for­mally ar­raigned Sept. 11 on a to­tal of 14 charges, in­clud­ing ag­gra­vated as­sault, mul­ti­ple counts of rob­bery and sim­ple as­sault, reck­lessly en­dan­ger­ing an­other per­son, pos­ses­sion of a con­trolled sub­stance and pos­ses­sion of drug para­pher­na­lia.

Duffy kept bail at $400,000 cash, which was set by Dis­trict Judge Fran­cis Lawrence of Norristown at Pas­sarella’s pre­lim­i­nary ar­raign­ment July 6.

The judge also added in bail pro­vi­sion bar­ring Pas­sarella from con­tact with the vic­tim, his mother, who was at the court­house and pre­pared to tes­tify in the event Pas­sarella chose not to waive his hear­ing. Pros­e­cu­tors said that since the al­leged July 5 as­sault, Pas­sarella’s mother has ob­tained a Pro­tec­tion from Abuse Or­der against her son.

Pas­sarella was then led out of the court­room by So­lice and trans­ported back to Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice, Pas­sarella’s mother re­ported that her son — who lives in the base­ment of her house — had as­saulted her on the evening of July 5 af­ter she left a note in his room telling him he had “nine months to get his life to­gether and move out of the house.”

Pas­sarella’s mother said that when her son found the note, he “freaked out” and con­fronted her, “en­raged,” while she was eat­ing din­ner, ac­cord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint, say­ing he “only needed four days to take care of busi­ness” and that “his life was over and in four days she can 302 him.” (“302” is slang for in­vol­un­tary com­mit­ment to a men­tal health fa­cil­ity.)

Pas­sarella then told his mother he was go­ing to an ac­quain­tance’s house to re­trieve his fa­ther’s ashes, and that he needed money by 10W30 p.m. that night to pay his drug dealer or the dealer was go­ing to come to the house, court doc­u­ments show.

While he was telling his mother th­ese things, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint, Pas­sarella took a roll of duct tape out of his back­pack and cut off a two-foot length of tape, scar­ing his mother.

Po­lice said he then de­manded money — Pas­sarella’s mother said she didn’t think she could with­draw the $ 800 he wanted from the bank at that time, so he in­sisted card and PIN.

At that point, po­lice said, both Pas­sarella and his mother went for her purse, which was in an­other room, Dur­ing the strug­gle, she fell to the ground, clutch­ing her purse, and Pas­sarella re­port­edly kneeled on top of her, pulled a black pis­tol-style BB gun from his waist­band and al­legedly be­gan shoot­ing her with the weapon.

Ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint, Pas­sarella’s mother son find shows at her — she was struck twice, once in the right find left fore­arm, and be­gan to bleed from both wounds.

Once he saw his mother bleed­ing, po­lice said, Pas­sarella calmed down and be­gan to apol­o­gize to her; scared, she drove Pas­sarella to a Wawa, with$800 and then dropped him off in Am­bler.

Later, ac­cord­ing to po­lice, Pas­sarella’s mother went to Lans­dale Hos­pi­tal for treat­ment of the gun­shots, which ne­ces­si­tated surgery as both BBs were lodged in­side the wounds.

Court records show that in­ves­ti­ga­tors found in­den­ta­tions in the hard­wood floors house con­sis­tent with her ac­count of the BB gun shoot­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by au­thor­i­ties in the amended July 22, af­ter Pas­sarella was ap­pre­hended by po­lice in Am­bler a short time af­ter the al­leged in­ci­dent, a search of a back­pack he was car­ry­ing turned up co­caine and Subox­one (a nar­cotic typ­i­cally pre­scribed for opi­oid de­pen­dence) as well as a sus­pected co­caine straw.

Photo by GE­OFF PAT­TON

Michel Pas­sarella leaves dis­trict court in Mont­gomeryville in cus­tody of po­lice.

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