this article makes me hate reporters and everything
im friends with that kid. hes dating my friend..
hes not that bad a kid
he has to take a lot of pills just like me..
and he wasnt on his meds that day
seriously he IS NOT that bad
i swear . there are LIES LIES LIES in newspapers.
Friday, December 1, 2006
ROCHESTER — A District Court judge rejected a plea agreement Thursday in a case of road rage by a Barrington teenager that the judge described as acts of rage and terror.
Judge Daniel Cappiello said he was not satisfied with the plea deal reached between the Strafford County Attorney's office and Joseph Cleary, 17, that reduced felony charges to Class A misdemeanor counts of simple assault and criminal threatening. Prosecutors say Cleary tried to attack Anne Michelle Scannell and her 7-year-old daughter of Barrington while the two rode horses and then stabbed Milton Smith of Strafford when he tried to stop the altercation.
"This is not a young boy who got in trouble for the first time," Cappiello added. "This is beyond that."
Strafford County Attorney Janice Rundles had recommended a sentence of three years of suspended jail time but with four years of probation and counseling, 40 hours of community services and restitution to be paid to the victims for medical bills.
Cleary, the adopted son of Cleary Cleaners owner Lawrence "Jay" Cleary, had served 29 days in jail while he waited to have his case heard in the juvenile court system. The incident occurred when Cleary was 16.
While not entirely happy with what was offered by the state, Cleary and his parents agreed to his pleading guilty to the lesser charges of assaulting Smith and criminal threatening of Michele and Brianna Scannell as well as other minor, unrelated charges. Also as part of the agreement, Cleary consented to being sentenced as an adult rather than in the juvenile court.
Anne Michelle Scannell and her daughter, Brianna, comfort one another outside Rochester District Court Thursday after a hearing for defendant Joe Cleary, who on August 16, 2006, threatened them while they rode horses, and severely injured a neighbor who came to their aid.
Police reports and witness accounts state that Michele and Brianna Scannell were riding their horses in single file on Beauty Hill Road on Aug. 16 when Michele Scannell noticed a Toyota pickup truck driven by Cleary traveling toward them at a high rate of speed.
She motioned to Cleary to slow down but he instead jumped out of his truck, which had skidded to a stop several feet away from the horses. He then grabbed a wooden oar from the back of the vehicle and moved toward the Scannells while brandishing the oar and yelling incoherently, Rundles said.
Michele Scannell began to yell for help, and Smith and another man came running from a neighboring house and attempted to restrain Cleary.
Smith said Cleary claimed he could not breath and when he relaxed his hold on Cleary's neck, Cleary pulled a jackknife out of his pocket and slashed Smith on his knee and near his left eye, which severed nerves around the eye and required him to get 15 stitches to his face.
It's unclear what happened next but police reports and some witnesses state that a second knife also was drawn, but no one seems to know by whom. In the scuffle between the men and Cleary, the teenager also was wounded in the arm.
Achmakjian, who was driving by at the time and made a U-turn back to the fight, arrived in time to kick away the two knives and said he used his shoulder to put pressure on Smith's wounds while a neighbor called 911.
Michele and Brianna Scannell, Achmakjian and Smith all spoke at the court hearing Thursday because they did not agree with the state's recommendation for Cleary's sentence. They wanted a stiffer sentence that included both jail time and rehabilitation.
"I just wanted the court to be aware of how horrendous this situation was," Michele Scannell said. Cleary "was so enraged he punched the inside of his windshield and it" cracked before he got out of the vehicle. "He was out of control and focused his fury on me and my 7-year-old daughter."
The impact on her daughter is even more upsetting, she said, and Brianna Scannell is undergoing counseling because of the incident.
"I was really scared on that day, and I thought he was going to kill me," Brianna Scannell told Cappiello in a quiet voice while clasping a stuffed toy horse.
Smith said he'd like to see Cleary do more time in the county jail and he said he would do what he did again because he was most concerned about Brianna Scannell's safety.
"I believe his parents did a good job but it's probably not good enough," Smith added. "Maybe if he did four, five, six months in jail he'd turn around."
Joe Cleary's negotiated plea with the state was denied in Rochester District Court Thursday. Cleary is facing multiple charges stemming from an altercation he had with two riders on horseback back in August 16, 2006, and severely injuring a neighbor who came to their aid.
Achmakjian said he knew something had gone terribly wrong when he saw the speeding Toyota skid to a stop and believes the incident could have been a lot worse if the men hadn't restrained Cleary, who Achmakjian described as having "wild eyes and bushy hair."
Cappiello agreed Achmakjian probably had prevented further injury from occurring to anyone.
Cleary's attorney Phil Utter said his client deeply regretted what happened that day and said the young man deserved a chance to try and turn his life around.
During the hearing it was mentioned Cleary had been and continues to receive mental health counseling, and Cappiello asked what guarantee there was Cleary would not lose his temper again.
This attack "does show some mental incapacity, and he needs to get the best treatment he can," Cappiello added.
Lawrence Cleary, who also spoke on behalf of his son at the hearing, said the brakes on his son's truck had locked up, which caused the tires to screech near the horses, when his son tried to go around the animals.
He added his son got out of the truck to apologize for screeching his tires and to place two oars, a tow rope and bungee cord back in the bed of his truck because the tailgate was open, but Scannell was screaming at him.
"Joe had not broken any laws, Joe had not come in contact with anyone or anything," Lawrence Cleary also wrote in an e-mail to Foster's Daily Democrat. "He just wanted to get in his truck and go back home."
As Cleary tried to leave, Lawrence Cleary added, Smith put Joseph Cleary in a head lock, and his son pulled the knife in self-defense because he was scared and wanted to get away from Smith.
"A more level-headed response to the incident ... could have prevented injury," Lawrence Cleary also wrote in the e-mail.
Cappiello noted Lawrence Cleary was not at the scene when the incident occurred and despite all that was offered by the state as a punishment, he still felt it was insufficient.
"This was an act of terror that terrorized several people," Cappiello said.
The state and the defense must now decide on a new plea agreement by 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 6. There is also a question of whether Cleary will be tried in the juvenile or the regular court system. If he withdraws his guilty plea the case could return to juvenile court.
Michelle Scannell said she hoped the case would not go back to juvenile court so her concerns will continue to be heard.
"I want him to do some time," she added while standing outside the courthouse after the hearing.
Cleary turned 17 just days after the altercation and Rundles said her office wanted pending charges filed as quickly as possible. Because of the time crunch and a clerical error, Michele Scannell and her daughter were not listed in the paperwork as victims, which meant that they were left out of the plea bargaining during the juvenile court proceedings.
After Michele Scannell contacted Rundles, who was unaware of the omission, new paperwork was filed to list the Scannells as victims and measures taken to have Cleary's hearing in the regular court.
Lawrence Cleary said by phone Thursday night that his family, who left the courthouse through a side entrance after the hearing concluded, was obviously disappointed by Cappiello's decision.
"I'd hoped the judge would have understood County Attorney Rundles was making a plea she didn't feel was inappropriate," he added. "We just want to go forward and put this behind us."
While those involved wait for a decision to be made concerning Cleary's plea and sentencing, Rundles said his current bail conditions remain, which include being monitored by the county corrections program by an electronic device, adhering to a strict curfew and not having contact with the victims.
Brianna Scannell said outside the courthouse she felt safer now she knew Cleary would be wearing his "bracelet" again.