Austintown man sentenced in tongue attack on woman
By John W. Goodwin Jr.
A 32-year-old Austintown woman said she is glad to see a former boyfriend who attacked her and tried to rip her tongue out of her mouth off the streets for the next several years.
Thomas Neapolitan, 24, of Austintown, had been charged with attempted murder and felonious assault in the early January attack on the woman.
He ultimately entered a plea deal with prosecutors wherein he pleaded guilty to the felonious assault charge and the attempted-murder charge was dropped.
The victim told police she and Neapolitan were arguing at an Austintown residence when he bit her nose and punched her in the leg. She said she walked away from Neapolitan and got into the shower, but he followed her and began to assault her again.
Neapolitan reportedly stuck his hand into her mouth and attempted to pull out her tongue, causing serious injury, police said in the initial report. During this time, the victim told police the suspect said, “I have to get rid of you.”
Officers reported that when they arrived at the house, the victim was bleeding from the mouth and was having a difficult time speaking and breathing.
The victim recently told The Vindicator that she spent several weeks in the hospital recovering from the attack. She said she also suffered with post-traumatic stress disorder for which she sought medical treatment.
“He detached my tongue from my mouth. It was horrific what happened to me,” she said.
Neapolitan could have been sentenced to as many as eight years in prison on the felonious assault charge.
Prosecutors recommended a two-year sentence for Neapolitan, but Judge Maureen Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court went further than that.
Judge Sweeney handed down a four-year sentence for the felonious assault.
The victim said no amount of prison time seems long enough, but she is glad Neapolitan cannot hurt anyone else for the next several years.
“Do I believe four years was enough? No, but I am glad he is in prison,” she said. “I am very happy that even though I was not able to be there for the sentencing. ... He got what he deserves, and I am just glad he can’t hurt anyone else.”
Neapolitan was previously convicted in Austintown court of menacing in November 2009 and served six months’ probation as punishment for that crime.