Norwalk man accepts plea deal in baseball bat assault
STAMFORD—A Norwalk man accepted a plea agreement Monday afternoon that will allow him to avoid jail and a trial for seriously injuring a man he beat with a baseball bat after squabbling over a politics at a Main Street steak house.
According to the agreement made at the Stamford courthouse, Romy Leska, 33, of Fairfield Avenue, will make an up-front $70,000 payment to the man he beat with the bat and make 58 additional monthly payments of $1,500 to compensate him for his injuries and lost wages.
After picking a jury last week in a case that was scheduled to begin testimony this coming Tuesday, Leska agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor count of third-degree assault and a felony charge of carrying a weapon (baseball bat) in a motor vehicle in return for a 364-day suspended jail sentence and five years probation, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Valdes said.
Leska was facing a first-degree assault charge that carried with it a mandatory minimum five year jail sentence and as much as 20 years in jail as well as the weapons offense that carried with it a maximum five years in jail. Leska, an Albanian stone mason and owner of Romi Masonry Construction LLC, may have faced deportation if found guilty of the assault charge.
Leska’s attorney Gene Riccio said, “Giving consideration to all aspects of the case, it was a fair and appropriate resolution. It was an unfortunate circumstance that occurred between the two parties.”
Valdes said that while Leska claimed he was acting in self defense, but the beating Leska administered to the man, now 44, took on characteristics of revenge. Valdes said Leska broke the man’s knee cap and shattered one of his elbows, broke four ribs at least two fingers and caused a hematoma on the top of the man’s head.
“The victim doesn’t want him convicted and deported and any other resolution would have been worse for the victim,” Valdes said, adding that the total payment to the victim Leska agreed to on Monday was $158,000. A civil suit is also pending against Leska.
Of the assault Valdes said, “Based on the number of broken bones after some point self defense becomes unreasonable and the defendant had a duty to retreat. At one point the beating became excessive.”
The assault occurred in September 2011 following an argument between the two men over politics, police said at the time.
Leska said the man left Blackstone’s Steak House, where the two got into the argument, before he did. But when he got outside the man came at him with the aluminum baseball bat.
Leska said he got out of his car and took the bat away from him and struck him with his fist, police said. Police found that the passenger mirror on Leska’s SUV had been damaged by the bat, apparently by the other man, police said. The aluminium bat was found inside Leska’s vehicle when police pulled him over a few minutes after the assault was called into 911.