Stabbing hearing delayed a week for Springdale man

Chuck Biedka
| Tuesday, April 3, 2012

CHESWICK -- A hearing was postponed Monday for a Springdale man accused of stabbing his boss because the arresting police officer and the alleged victim didn't show up for district court.

Eric Jeffrey Lindeman, 28, of 922 Logan St., is accused of using a box cutter to slash Lee Liebel, 33, his boss and roommate at the time, a little more than a week ago.

Springdale Patrolman Jeremy Liotta charged Lindeman with aggravated and simple assault, theft, reckless endangering, harassment, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.

Lindeman has been in the Allegheny County Jail since March 23 in lieu of $200,000 cash bond.

On Monday, Lindeman's attorney, Mike DeRiso, asked Cheswick-area District Judge David Sosovicka to dismiss all charges.

"The prosecution can't produce the witness or the officer," DeRiso said. "I ask that the charges be dismissed."

When asked about their whereabouts by the district judge, Springdale police Chief Joe Naviglia told Sosovicka that the victim knew about the hearing and so did his officer, Liotta.

Naviglia said Liotta is serving a suspension.

Sosovicka rejected DeRiso's request to have the charges dismissed.

Instead, he gave the assistant district attorney one week to have the witness and officer in the courtroom.

DeRiso next argued that $200,000 is far too high of a bond in this case and claimed that Lindeman also is a victim.

Assistant District Attorney Kevin Alan Chernosky asked Sosovicka not to reduce bond, but if he did, that it be cut to no lower than $125,000.

"Lindeman is a flight risk and only moved to this state about six months ago," Chernosky argued.

When Sosovicka asked Lindeman if he has ever been arrested, the suspect replied, "Yes. Once in Minnesota a long time ago. Assault in 2004. I served about 20 days."

Minnesota court records show he was sentenced to serve 30 days and was given credit for time served. He was charged in other cases and police are checking to see if there are active warrants for Lindeman.

Lindeman told Sosovicka that said he moved to Springdale to work for Liebel.

Lindeman and Liebel lived in Minnesota and "he asked him to come work for him here," Lindeman said told the district judge.

In the end, Sosovicka reduced Lindeman bond to $75,000 cash and ordered him to stay away from Liebel if Lindeman somehow posts bond before his preliminary hearing, which is rescheduled to Monday morning.

Mum on suspension

After the proceeding, Naviglia refused to say why Liotta is on suspension.

Contacted later Monday, Liotta said he hadn't been served with an affidavit for Monday's hearing. He also said he is in the process of resigning from the force. He wouldn't talk about the suspension.

Mayor Eileen Miller said she is aware of the suspension.

"Unfortunately, I'm not permitted to comment on a personnel matter," she said.

Councilman Jason Fry, who handles personnel issues, said the mayor and council, its labor attorney and the union representative are scheduled to meet April 17 to discuss the matter.

Outside of the courtroom, DeRiso said there is a question about what happened early March 22.

"It's still being investigated. I don't know what's going on with Springdale police. That's not my business," DeRiso said. "But it's clear that my client has defensive wounds."

Lindeman was hospitalized after his arrest for wounds to his hands.

Police allege that Lindeman was drunk when he argued with Liebel about money, and Lindeman then grabbed a box cutter.

Liebel had a deep cut to the side of his face and stab wounds in his chest and abdomen.

By Monday afternoon, constables were given a subpoena to serve on Liotta, Naviglia said, while the chief was going to serve a subpoena on Liebel.

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