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Dawson mayor, son fined $100 each for street fight

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By Chris Foreman
Friday, Aug. 27, 2010

Dawson's mayor and her son, a borough councilman, were found guilty yesterday of disorderly conduct and fined $100 each because of a fight in May with a borough resident.

District Judge Dwight Shaner ruled that Carol Capella, 43, and Michael Capella, 24, were guilty of the summary offense for engaging in a fight outside Melissa Jones' Laughlin Street home on May 18.

Another borough resident, Amanda Shultz, 27, also was found guilty of disorderly conduct.

Shaner dismissed citations for harassment against the Capellas and Shultz. A harassment citation against Jones, 36, was dismissed.

Carol Capella and Shultz went to Jones' home because they heard rumors that her son might have been responsible for shooting windows in the town of about 420 people with a pellet gun. Michael Capella arrived at the home while his mother and Jones were outside arguing.

The parties gave conflicting testimony yesterday. Jones claimed that Michael Capella punched her in the face; Carol Capella said that Jones slapped her and wrestled her to the ground.

The magistrate ruled after hearing testimony only from Jones, the three defendants and state Trooper Matthew Uram. No independent eyewitnesses offered statements.

Uram said authorities advised the mayor, who called 911 before going to Jones' home, to let state police handle the matter. Carol Capella previously had reported the vandalism to the Belle Vernon station, he said.

"If she'd never gone up there in the first place, this incident would never have occurred," Uram said.

Jones said Carol Capella offered $40 "for anybody that could kick my son's butt." The mayor denied the claim.

However, Jones admitted grabbing Carol Capella's long black hair before Michael Capella struck Jones.

"He said, 'I can't believe you did that to my mom,' and punched me in the face," Jones testified.

Meanwhile, the mayor, who took office in January, said Jones was agitated and yelling at other people on the street before she "hauled up and cracked me in the head."

"She ripped my earrings out and wouldn't let go of my hair," Carol Capella said.

The Capellas denied that the councilman hit Jones.

Michael Capella said he grabbed Jones' hand to get her away from his mother.

Shultz also denied striking Jones.

Shaner scheduled a Sept. 30 payment hearing for the Capellas and Shultz, who face $100 fines and court costs.

"You weren't invited up there," Shaner said. "You had no business up there."

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