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MAHONING COUNTY JAIL Ex-firefighter given six months



Published: Fri, February 18, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Fight that led to assault charge happened four years ago.

YOUNGSTOWN -- Visiting Judge Charles J. Bannon sentenced James DiMuzio, 43, a former Youngstown firefighter, to six months in Mahoning County Jail for beating a man in a restaurant bathroom.

In a trial in December, the judge found DiMuzio guilty on a reduced charge of misdemeanor assault. DiMuzio had entered a no contest plea to that charge after Judge Bannon ruled there was insufficient evidence presented on a felonious assault charge.

The maximum penalty for misdemeanor assault is six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

DiMuzio beat Atty. Edward Saadi, 34, of Youngstown at the former Rachel's restaurant on South Avenue near Western Reserve Road in Boardman on Jan. 13, 2001.

DiMuzio said Saadi also punched him.

DiMuzio's lawyer, Charles E. Dunlap, said Thursday his client has had to spend thousands of dollars in medical and legal fees and has had his liberty restrained for four years pending the outcome of the case. "I believe my client has been punished enough," he said.

Testimony showed the fight began in the restaurant's restroom. DiMuzio was upset about disparaging remarks he said Saadi had made about DiMuzio's girlfriend, who Saadi previously had dated.

DiMuzio's twin, Anthony, also was charged, but the judge found him innocent after determining there was no evidence presented to show he was involved.

Long delay

The criminal case was delayed for nearly four years because of changes in defense lawyers and judges since 2001.

Saadi read a long statement to Judge Bannon in which he labeled DiMuzio "an animal who looks for violence and, when he cannot find violence, he incites violence."

He said James and Anthony DiMuzio have a history of harmful behavior that dated to the 1980s, but few of those victims ever got their day in court, he said, "because of corrupt prosecutors, now-disbarred defense lawyers and crooked judges."

"I am both lucky and proud to be the one victim who refused to be intimidated, who demanded his day is court" and who was responsible for putting DiMuzio in jail, he said.

Judge Bannon said he was frustrated that the six-month jail term was the most he could mete out under law.

He told DiMuzio, "I think you beat the hell out of him, and with your background, you can't do that."

The judge was referring to DiMuzio's long past criminal record, which includes arrests for assault and driving while under the influence of alcohol.

DiMuzio again told the judge he was assaulted by Saadi, that he has medical bills from the assault, and that Saadi was lying about what happened that night at Rachel's.

But the judge was unmoved by his comments.

"You must be broke from paying all these fines," Judge Bannon said as he again looked over DiMuzio's record. "And you never seem to learn. When are you going to stop? What kind of life is that."

After pronouncing sentence, there was a brief verbal exchange between Saadi and DiMuzio, but deputies quickly ushered DiMuzio from the courtroom.

Saadi also has filed a civil suit against the brothers; that suit is pending in common pleas court.




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