Cops: Witness IDs owner's nephew
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP)
A witness identified the 22-year-old nephew of New York Giants owner John Mara as the person he saw hit a man in the head with a bottle during a New Year's Eve party, an arrest affidavit says.
The nephew, also named John Mara, was arrested by Fairfield police last week and posted $150,000 bail.
The Mount Kisco, N.Y., resident is to be arraigned on March 8 in Bridgeport Superior Court on first-degree assault and breach of peace charges. Mara's lawyer, William Dow III, said Mara will plead not guilty and he's confident a jury will agree.
''We'll address the charges in court, not in the media,'' Dow said Thursday.
The alleged victim, Philip Blackman, said he had no recollection of the assault. He said doctors told him that if he had not gotten to the hospital and had emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain he might have died that night, according to the arrest affidavit, which says he suffered a skull fracture and a brain hemorrhage.
Luke Kazmierczak, who was home from college for the holidays, told police he witnessed the incident. But he initially did not pick Mara out of a photo lineup of six men, the affidavit says. Police say in the affidavit that the photo of Mara, a senior at Fairfield University, was when he was a freshman and looked significantly different. When Kazmierczak was later shown an updated photo, he immediately picked out Mara as the person he saw hit Blackman, police say.
Also, David O'Brien, a friend of Kazmierczak's, took a photo of Mara that night and picked Mara out from a photo lineup as the person his friend told him committed the assault, the affidavit says.
Blackman said his friends told him he had bumped into a girl by accident at the party and some people at the party were trying to kick him and his friends out, according to the affidavit.
Police say Mara was upset after he was told while walking to the house that his roommate's girlfriend was hit by someone. They describe him as highly intoxicated at the time and not wearing a shirt despite below-freezing temperatures.
Mara denied the assault, police say. But they say when they asked him why others were accusing him of the assault, he said: ''I'm not sure. If I actually did do it, I would love to find out.''
Police say when they asked if it was possible he did not know he hit Blackman, Mara replied: ''It could of happened because I was very drunk and there's a shot that I didn't remember.''
Mara is an anthropology and sociology major at the Jesuit School and lives in the nearby beachfront neighborhood where the assault allegedly occurred, university spokeswoman Martha Milcarek has said.
First-degree assault carries a sentence of one to 20 years in prison.
A spokesman for the Giants said Monday that the team and John Mara, president and chief executive officer of the Giants, had no comment on the arrest.