SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

March 8, 2014

DA: Endicott student claimed ties to Mob after assaults

(Continued)

DeStefano then headed to a party, said the prosecutor, where he allegedly bragged about what he’d done.

Gubitose said that not only was the claim to Mob ties, which could not be confirmed, “telling,” but the sheer randomness of the assaults “weighs in favor of the Commonwealth’s position.”

But DeStefano’s lawyers, which now number three, want him released on bail, suggesting that aside from the one-hour spree of assaults — which they don’t concede were committed by DeStefano — there is no evidence that he is a violent person.

“This is a single, one-hour period in his life,” argued Martin Weinberg, one of three private defense attorneys DeStefano’s family has now hired to represent him in the case.

Weinberg and co-counsel William Cintolo and Ray Buso argue that DeStefano has led an otherwise “impeccable” life, submitting a package of letters from teachers, coaches, neighbors, police and family members in New Jersey.

“If he couldn’t control himself, there would be evidence of prior incidents,” Weinberg suggested.

Weinberg argued that the five weeks DeStefano has spent at Middleton Jail have been a wake-up call, and that he knows it would be “catastrophic” if he failed to comply with bail conditions or failed to appear at future proceedings.

Weinberg also said DeStefano has Crohn’s disease, which requires him to have a “stressless” life and special diet.

Lu took the requests under advisement and ordered that DeStefano remain in custody until he issues a ruling.

Buso said outside court that he does not believe the judge has a basis to find “clear and convincing evidence” that his client poses a danger.

He declined to comment on the question of whether DeStefano’s claim of family ties to organized crime is true.

A pretrial hearing was scheduled for April 8.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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