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Judge dismisses assault charges against Springdale man

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By Michael Aubele
Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Police will continue to pursue an assault case against a Springdale man who allegedly stabbed his boss, even though District Judge David Sosovicka on Monday dropped the charges against him.

At the request of Allegheny County Assistant District Attorney Courtney Butterfield, Sosovicka withdrew the charges against Eric Lindeman, 28, of aggravated and simple assault, theft, reckless endangering, harassment, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.

Butterfield asked the judge to drop the charges because the alleged victim again failed to attend a preliminary court hearing. She also said authorities need more time to investigate.

According to police, Lindeman was drunk about 1 a.m. March 22 when he argued with his boss and roommate, Lee Liebel, about money and attacked him with a box cutter at their residence.

Yesterday marked the second hearing that Liebel failed to attend. Butterfield said Liebel was served with a subpoena, but she couldn't offer an explanation for his absence.

Springdale Police Sgt. Mark Thom said after the hearing that Liebel refused to attend because he was afraid of being harmed. According to Thom, Liebel received a threatening text message shortly before the hearing from one of Lindeman's friends.

Thom said the friend, whom he didn't identify, could face charges of intimidating a witness.

"We can't just let this go," Thom said of the alleged stabbing. The sergeant has taken over the investigation for Patrolman Jeremy Liotta, who yesterday resigned from the Springdale Borough Police Department.

Lindeman and Liebel worked together as tree cutters for Nature Boy Tree Service.

Lindeman, who wore a white T-shirt, green cargo shorts and shackles during his brief hearing yesterday, told a reporter as he walked out of court a free man that he was the victim in the case.

"I got attacked by a guy, and I was just defending myself," Lindeman said. He didn't elaborate.

Liebel, who couldn't be reached for comment, suffered a deep cut on the side of his face and stab wounds in his chest and abdomen, according to police.

Thom said that the police investigation pointed to Lindeman as the aggressor.

Additional Information:

Suspended officer resigns

Suspended Springdale Patrolman Jeremy Liotta on Monday submitted a resignation letter to borough officials.

Mayor Eileen Miller and Councilman Jason Fry said council will consider accepting the resignation April 17.

Borough officials have declined to discuss the suspension, saying they won't talk publicly about a personnel matter.

Liotta declined to talk about the reason for his suspension other than to say it was 'political.'

An officer in the borough for about six years, Liotta failed to appear at Lindeman's initial hearing, saying he wasn't served an affidavit.

Because he and Liebel failed to show, Sosovicka rescheduled for yesterday. Liotta attended yesterday's hearing, but it was cancelled.

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