Man charged with assault waives hearing
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Christopher Dean explained to the courtroom, one count each of felony aggravated assault and felony robbery were withdrawn.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.
Michel Passarella leaves district court in Montgomeryville in custody of police.