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Lawyer: Assault on Brown athlete was self-defense

May 17, 2013

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Connecticut Marine accused in an assault that left a Brown University basketball player with severe head injuries acted in self-defense, his attorney said Friday.

Tory Lussier, 24, of Vernon, Conn., made his initial appearance in Providence District Court on Friday on a felony assault charge. He was released on bail and had no comment outside court.

But his lawyer, John Lombardi, told a judge it was a “clear case of self-defense.” Asked later to elaborate, Lombardi declined.

Lussier is accused of assaulting 21-year-old Joseph Sharkey of Norwood, Mass., early Sunday morning. Sharkey, a sophomore member of Brown’s basketball team, suffered serious head injuries and has been in critical condition at Rhode Island Hospital. The hospital said Friday afternoon his family no longer wants it to release information about his condition.

Charles Calenda, special assistant attorney general, told the judge Friday the assault was an “unprovoked attack.” Police have said the assault happened after some type of altercation but have not provided details.

A second man was also charged Friday in connection with the incident. Police said Dillon James Ingham, 22, of Fulton, N.Y., was charged with disorderly conduct and is being held until he can be arraigned. A police spokeswoman would not provide details on his alleged involvement.

The Brown men’s wrestling team lists Ingham as a member; he is also listed as having played football for Brown. The university confirmed Ingham is a student.

Meanwhile, some more details emerged Friday about the man accused of the assault. Lussier is an active member of the Marine Reserves and has served 10 months in Afghanistan, according to his attorney. Lombardi said Lussier was in Providence to see his superior officer and others with whom he has served. He said he doesn’t believe Lussier and Sharkey knew each other.

Lussier was arrested at his home in Vernon on Wednesday and waived extradition to Rhode Island on Thursday. On Friday in Providence, a judge set bail at $10,000 with surety, and Lussier’s father posted the $1,000 required for his release, Lombardi said.

A pretrial hearing is scheduled for July 22.

In a separate criminal case in Rockville Superior Court in Connecticut, Lussier is out on bail and due back in court May 29. Vernon police arrested him in September and charged him with second-degree assault, second-degree assault of an elderly person and breach of peace after an altercation in the parking lot of Connecticut Golf Land, an amusement park with miniature golf and go-karts.

Lussier’s lawyer in that case, Herman Woodard Jr., declined Friday to comment on the Rhode Island charge and said he wasn’t sure yet how the allegations would affect the Connecticut case.

Woodard said Lussier has served his country well in the Marines and is supposed to be deployed again soon to the Middle East.

“When I met him and spoke to him, he seemed like a really standup guy,” Woodard said. “He seems like a fantastic kid. Sometimes good people get charged with breaking the law, and I think that’s the case here.”


Associated Press writer Dave Collins contributed to this report from Hartford, Conn.

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