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March 18, 2014

Second judge rules Endicott student a danger

Not swayed by letters of support from family, friends

BEVERLY — A second judge has decided that former Endicott College student Dillon DeStefano, charged in a series of random “knockout” attacks on fellow students last month, poses too great a danger to the public to release under any terms.

In a ruling late last week, Judge John Lu pointed to DeStefano’s alleged reference to family mob ties as he warned a witness not to say anything to authorities.

“Dillon came in and was just, like, like you didn’t, don’t say you saw anything,” Lu quoted from the transcript of the witness’s grand jury testimony. “My grandfather’s a powerful person down in New Jersey, he’s got connections, affiliations, I guess, with the mob. He’s always said that. He’s like, just keep your mouth shut. Don’t say anything. This will all be taken care of. I’ll get a high profile lawyer ... we got your back. Don’t worry about it.”

“Mr. DeStefano attempted to intimidate the witness,” Lu concluded after reading the grand jury transcript and other documents.

And, the judge found, the only motive appeared to be “pleasure.”

“Mr. DeStefano is captured on surveillance video re-enacting one of the attacks and laughing,” the judge wrote. “Some or all of the attacks appear to have been in ‘sucker-punch’ fashion.”

Lu called the attacks “notable for their ferocity.”

DeStefano, 19, of River Vale, N.J., has been indicted on and pleaded not guilty to two counts of assault and battery on a person causing serious bodily injury and a charge of assault and battery, all stemming from the series of random assaults on fellow Endicott students in the early-morning hours of Feb. 2.

One student suffered five fractures to his eye socket and another suffered a broken and dislocated jaw that has been wired shut for nearly two months. A third student, put in a headlock, escaped serious injury, prosecutors said.

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