By Terri Ogan
---- — SALEM — An Endicott College sophomore charged with randomly attacking fellow students remains in Middleton Jail after a Salem District Court judge yesterday ordered him held as a danger to the public.
Dillon DeStefano, 19, a hockey player from River Vale, N.J., pleaded not guilty to two counts of aggravated assault and battery at his arraignment Feb. 6. Prosecutors say he punched two students in the face back on Feb. 2, leaving one victim with a broken eye socket and another with a shattered jaw, which was wired shut in order to heal.
DeStefano is scheduled to appear in court March 18 for a probable cause hearing, said Carrie Kimball Monahan, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office. It’s likely, however, a superior court arraignment will take place prior to that date, which would move the case to superior court.
A grand jury indicted DeStefano on Wednesday on two counts of assault and battery causing serious bodily injury and one count of assault and battery, Monahan said.
At yesterday’s dangerousness hearing, prosecutor Patrick Collins said given the “unpredictable” nature of DeStefano’s “vicious random attacks,” it was impossible to fashion conditions of release that would ensure the public’s safety, according to an email from Monahan.
Prosecutors believe the attacks are a case of someone playing the so-called “knockout” game.
Both attacks occurred between 1:30 and 2:30 a.m. near the main campus of the school, according to Endicott College officials. The injured students said they were first approached and spoken to by another student they did not know, then punched from someone coming out of nowhere.
A third student reported being assaulted to the campus security office, but no charges have been filed in that incident.
DeStefano’s family posted $20,000 bail following his arrest in early February, but Collins filed a motion to have him put back in custody saying he was too dangerous to release under any conditions.
Terri Ogan can be reached at 978-338-2660, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @terriogan.