HAVERHILL — A Lawrence man faces a charge of assaulting a disabled person after police say he pushed the man out of a wheelchair then attacked him with it last week at GAR Park.
Jose Defranceso, 44, was charged with assault and battery on a disabled person, assault and battery on a police officer, disorderly conduct and defacing property, stemming from the incident last Wednesday. He was arraigned the following day in Haverhill District Court, where Judge Patricia Dowling ordered him held without bail.
A dangerousness hearing is scheduled for this Wednesday, July 17.
Defrancesco was represented by defense lawyer Maria Murber.
Officers were sent to the park at 6:49 p.m., last Wednesday, July 10, when a woman told them Defrancesco had pushed another man, age 47, out of a wheelchair and thrown the wheelchair him, cutting the man's forearm, police reported.
Defrancesco said he didn't do it and instead was helping the man, whom he referred to as "his boy,” according to a police report.
The disabled man, who police say is homeless, said Defrancesco came over to him and was yelling, then pushed him out of his wheelchair and threw it at him.
Police said Defrancesco had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech, was staggering and smelled of alcohol. He told officers he'd been drinking all morning, according to their report.
Defrancesco was arrested and taken to the station, where police say he reopened a old wound on his finger and smeared blood on a wall. Officers called Trinity EMS to assess his injury. Defrancesco then reported having taken “molly," another name for the drug ecstasy, and said he was hallucinating and having trouble breathing, according to the police report.
Paramedics treated his finger and took him to Holy Family Hospital in Haverhill for evaluation. While there, Defrancesco challenged hospital security to a fight, telling guards he had a black belt in karate and wasn't afraid to die, police reported.
Police say Defrancesco swore at hospital staff, complaining that he wasn't getting adequate care. It took two officers and three security guards to escort him from the building, kicking and screaming, police said.
While being placed into a cruiser, Defrancesco kicked Officer Eric MacKinnon in the leg. He also threatened police officers, telling them he'd been stabbed and shot before and wasn't afraid of them, according to the police report.
Back at the station, Defrancesco refused to get out of the cruiser and demanded to be returned to the hospital.
Attending officers secured their weapons, per department policy, and when they returned to the cruiser found Defrancesco bleeding from his head. Police say he’d struck his head against the Plexiglass shield in the rear of the car.
Once removed from the cruiser, Defrancesco threw himself to the ground, opening other wounds on his elbows and forearms, police said. He continued to put up a fight, threatening officers and using profanity.
Police finally put him in handcuffs and escorted him back to the hospital in an ambulance. He was later returned to the station and placed into a cell, pending his arraignment the following day.