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Cheswick councilman's assault case heads to court

| Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 12:56 a.m.
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
Cheswick Councilman Jonathan Skedel

Cheswick Councilman Jonathan Skedel, 58, waived to court several charges, including simple assault and harassment, stemming from an alleged altercation with a subcontractor last year.

Skedel waived the charges during his hearing before District Judge Linda Zucco on Wednesday.

“The fact that my client waived this hearing is not indicative of him being guilty,” said Phil DiLucente, Skedel's attorney. “Rather, it was an act in good faith to have this matter resolved amicably.”

Skedel declined to comment on the case.

In October of last year, Skedel, then a general contractor, allegedly argued with subcontractor Sean Kerrigan, pulled a pistol and fought with Kerrigan about nails left on a roof.

In January, Zucco said she'd dismiss the charges if Skedel surrendered a pistol used in the incident as well as other firearms, relinquish his permit to carry a firearm and complete anger-management counseling.

Zucco's request was made after a verbal clash between Assistant District Attorney Robert Heister and defense attorney James M. Ecker.

Ecker, DiLucente and Kerrigan said Kerrigan wanted to have charges dropped.

Heister, the prosecutor, said that might be possible except that a gun was involved.

When Kerrigan was called to the witness stand, he said he didn't want to testify against Skedel.

Once he began to testify, Kerrigan said that Skedel was a longtime friend who was having a bad day.

Zucco said that Skedel complied with her request but that the Allegheny County District Attorney's office filed the original charges and added a few additional ones.

According to DiLucente, there was never an agreement from the district attorney's office on the original charges, so those charges still hold.

“I think the compliance with Judge Zucco's request and order sends a message that my client wants to have this resolved out of court,” he said.

Skedel's expedited formal arraignment is scheduled at 11 a.m. Oct. 8 in Allegheny County court.

Mary Ann Thomas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at mthomas@tribweb.com.

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