RIDGWAY – A St. Marys man was sentenced Thursday to 15 to 35 years in state prison for assaulting a two-person repossession team while they tried to collect his girlfriend’s car.
Sixty-two-year-old John Anthony Raspatello was charged by St. Marys police with four felony counts of aggravated assault and misdemeanors of simple assault, reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury or death, and a summary offense of reckless driving, following an incident in the parking lot of Nic’s Tobacco Outlet in St. Marys on Dec. 30, 2013.
Following a two-day trial, Raspatello was convicted on all counts by a jury. After several continuances, he did not appear in court on January 27 for sentencing, at which point a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.
After nearly two months on the run, the U.S. Marshals Western Pennsylvania Fugitive Task Force on March 4 arrested Raspatello in Limestone, N.Y., where he was found hiding in a camper near Route 219.
He has since been remanded to Elk County Prison, awaiting sentencing.
District Attorney Shawn McMahon said Thursday that while the victims, Amy Cloak Brosius and Doug Brosius, were present in the courtroom they did not wish to make a statement as they have already testified during the trial about the damage done by Raspatello.
That evening in 2013, when the duo came to execute a repossession order on a Chevy Malibu owned by Raspatello’s girlfriend, he would go into the car to collect items before throwing the key in the ignition and backing into the duo.
Doug Brosius was hit with the door with a force that unhinged it. Amy Cloak Brosius was hit by the door and dragged under the car for about 20 feet before Raspatello fled the scene in the vehicle.
McMahon explained that both of them have experienced chronic medical conditions resulting from the incident, with Amy still having difficulty dressing herself due to the lack of mobility from the disruption of her collarbone from her sternum.
“Clearly, it has impacted them. Not only what happened that night but the length of this case. They’re ready for closure,” McMahon said.
When it was Raspatello’s turn to talk to the judge, he went on for some time, outlining medical conditions which would make extended incarceration a hardship, his worries about being able to repay restitution, and adding that he felt genuine remorse for the pain the Brosius’ have experienced.
He even added, “if we (Amy and Doug) had met under different circumstances we might have been friends.”
During his statements, Raspatello said “I never intended to disrespect you or
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the court by leaving. I was scared...I did wrong and I apologize.”
While Raspatello’s attorney Joseph Ryan said he thinks his client is remorseful, adding “I think that as he’s gotten older, he’s gotten better,” Elk County’s President Judge Richard Masson was not as convinced.
“I’ve reviewed your criminal record and it’s significant,” said Masson, as he underlined that Raspatello’s earliest run in with the law was in 1971 as a juvenile, a trend which has continued throughout life as he has pleaded guilty to 14 crimes of record and been incarcerated four different times, some of which was state prison time.
“Over the span of what is now four decades, you’ve demonstrated an unremittant propensity for criminal activity. I find that based on your history, you are a danger to society.”
Masson sentenced Raspatello to serve a minimum of 15 years to a maximum of 35 years incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution –Pittsburgh; a $200 fine; and to pay restitution of $128,664.87 to Doug Brosius as well as $35,000 to Erie Insurance Company. The defendant was also ordered to have no direct or indirect contact with Amy or Doug Brosius.
“Good luck, Mr. Raspatello,” Masson said, ending the proceedings.