By Doug Ireland
---- — DERRY — Despite pleas from the victim, police refuse to drop charges against a Londonderry man who struck his friend with an ax.
Aaron McDermott, 33, of 8 Boston Ave. appeared yesterday in 10th Circuit Court for a probable cause hearing, which he waived.
McDermott is charged with grabbing an ax during an argument Wednesday and hitting the man he lives with, using the handle to strike him in the back and elbow, according to Londonderry police prosecutor Kevin Coyle.
The victim, Marc Vitti, was bruised, but wasn’t struck with the blade, Coyle said. Vitti did not require hospitalization.
McDermott was still holding the ax when police arrived at the home about 4 p.m. Wednesday, Coyle said.
He has been held at the county jail since his arrest.
McDermott, who was represented by a public defender, was shackled and wearing a prison uniform in court. He responded simply to questions from Judge John Coughlin.
When McDermott was arrested, police described him as Vitti’s nephew. Coyle said although the two had been close since McDermott was a child, they are not related. Vitti did not attend the hearing, but told Coyle earlier in the day he wanted to drop the charges against his longtime friend.
The request was denied, but Coughlin reduced McDermott’s bail from $25,000 cash to $10,000 cash, and allowed contact between the two men.
“It was lowered because the victim didn’t want to go forward with the charges,” Coyle said.
Coughlin said the bail would be reduced further to $50,000 personal recognizance if McDermott participated in a drug treatment program. McDermott was still in jail late yesterday.
Vitti could not be reached yesterday for comment.
McDermott was charged with second-degree assault, criminal threatening with a deadly weapon, criminal trespass and possession of a controlled drug. The charges are felonies, each punishable by three and a half to seven years in state prison.
He also was charged with three counts of obstructing a report of a crime or injury for knocking the telephone away each time Vitti tried to call 911.
The 911 dispatcher, who was finally connected with Vitti, heard a man in the background say, “I’m going to rip your head off,” police Officer Narciso Garcia said in his report.
Vitti told police when he asked McDermott to leave the home, it led to an argument and an altercation, Londonderry police Lt. Timothy Jones said.
While at the home, police seized a drug they believed to be heroin, Jones said.
McDermott’s case will now go before a grand jury for possible indictment.