JAY – A local man was arrested on a charge of aggravated assault Sunday after he allegedly placed a relative in a choke hold.
Michael Finelli, 39 of Jay, has been charged with domestic violence aggravated assault, a Class B felony, following an incident that allegedly occurred Saturday at a residence on Kyesland Avenue.
According to an affidavit filed with the Franklin County court by Jay Police Officer David Morin, police were initially dispatched to the residence Sunday at approximately 10:03 a.m. upon receiving a report of trespassing. Finelli told police that an adult relative had damaged his property: specifically, that he cut a power adapter line to video cameras, had chased him with a knife and that he had kicked and punched a vehicle. Finelli also told police that the man had thrown a bucket of sheetrock mud at him. Morin noted in the affidavit that Finelli said he had video of the man kicking and punching his car.
Another individual at the residence told Morin that she and her grandmother had witnessed an altercation between Finelli and his relative the previous day. During that scuffle, she told police, Finelli allegedly put the man in a “headlock,” according to the affidavit.
Morin asked Finelli to view the video that purportedly showed his relative kicking and punching the car. Morin indicated in his affidavit that Finelli showed him the video and, while the officer only saw a few seconds, it appeared that the man had been standing roughly five feet from the car when Finelli shoved him.
“Michael [Finelli] appeared to be the aggressor,” Morin wrote in his affidavit. “I told Michael I would like to record the video with my camera. A few seconds later, Michael took a step away from me and told me that he just deleted the video by mistake.”
Morin noted that Finelli did not allow the officer to hold his phone. Finelli also showed Morin a video that he said would show his relative holding a knife. Morin did not observe a knife. When he asked Finelli to place his phone on the table so Morin could record the video with his own camera, Finelli reportedly refused.
Morin also checked a tire on the car that Finelli had claimed had been punctured. Morin reported seeing a “small crack on the sidewall of the tire” but did not feel or hear any air escaping. Finelli told Morin that air had been escaping when he had checked earlier.
Morin left the scene. Less than two hours later, a relative of Finelli’s contacted him through dispatch and said that he had been assaulted Saturday by Finelli. A video sent to police by another individual allegedly showed Finelli standing next to the other man, facing in the same direction. That individual further informed Morin that Finelli’s relative was autistic.
“Michael [Finelli]’s left arm appeared to be tightly holding onto the back and left side of [his relative]’s neck while Michael’s open right hand appeared to be firmly pressing against the right side of [the man’s] neck,” Morin wrote in the affidavit.
In an interview conducted by Morin Sunday evening, Finelli’s relative denied cutting the power adapter line or puncturing a tire. He admitted to kicking the driver’s door of the car but said he hadn’t damaged the vehicle. He also reportedly admitted to taking out a pocket knife but only when he felt his life was in danger, according to the affidavit. Morin did observe some redness on the man’s finger, a scratch on his nose and a reddened eye, all of which the man said related to the alleged assault by Finelli. He said that he had difficulty breathing when Finelli allegedly grabbed him around the throat and that he was fearful to return home if Finelli was going to be there.
Later that evening, Morin and Officer Dan Demers returned to the residence on Kyesland Avenue and spoke with Finelli again. Finelli told the officers that he had put his relative in “a hold” for self-defense after he had thrown a bucket of sheetrock mud at Finelli. He showed Morin scrapes on his elbow that he said originated from the bucket.
“I tried to explain to Michael [Finelli] that putting someone in a choke hold was an excessive response to getting a bucket thrown at you,” Morin wrote in the affidavit.
Morin arrested Finelli on a charge of domestic violence aggravated assault. The Jay man was transported to Franklin County Detention Center.