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Delaware Trooper Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Teen Over Doorbell Prank


A Delaware state trooper is facing prison time after he pleaded guilty to criminal charges involving a brutal assault on a teenager who played a prank on the trooper at his home. The 30-year-old defendant pleaded guilty Friday to Second Degree Assault and Deprivation of Civil Rights, both of which are felonies. He also pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor Assault and two counts of Official Misconduct. In exchange for pleading guilty, prosecutors plan to recommend the trooper be sentenced to 1.5 years in prison.

Second Degree Assault has a presumptive sentencing range of 2 years. In other words, that’s the recommended sentence under the law. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors intend to ask the judge for a sentence of 1.5 years on all the charges stemming from this incident.

According to police, the defendant was off duty and returning to his home when he and the 17-year-old got into an argument. The officer initially contacted police who took the teenager home and turned him over to his mother. The next day, however, authorities said the trooper looked him up on Delaware’s state law enforcement database. Three days later, the trooper was on duty when the 15-year-old and three of his friends were walking past the trooper’s home and decided to play a doorbell prank. The teen allegedly ran up to the trooper’s door and kicked it before running off. The trooper’s girlfriend called him and gave him a description of the teen. The trooper drove to the neighborhood and called other officers for help.

During his search for the individual who kicked his door, the trooper was told by a witness that several juveniles had just run down the street where the 17-year-old lived. The trooper again looked up the 17-year-old’s information on the law enforcement database and went to his home with two Newport officers. The 17-year-old was injured in the takedown.

When the trooper arrived at the victim’s house, he grabbed him and forced him to the ground. The teen was not part of the group who played the doorbell prank. The trooper handcuffed and detained the 17-year-old but never formally arrested him during the encounter. The altercation was captured by the officer’s body camera.

The trooper later heard that the group that had played the doorbell prank had been found and detained. When he arrived, the 15-year-old was face-down on the ground with another trooper attempting to handcuff him. The trooper dropped his knee onto the back of the teen’s head and neck area. All this was caught on the body camera.

The 15-year-old was arrested and placed in the back of a police vehicle. He confirmed that this was the individual who kicked his door. He then turned off his body camera and entered the police vehicle. There, he struck the teen several times with his fist and fractured his right eye socket. He then turned his body camera back on.

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Michael W. Modica represents the interests of those charged with serious crimes in Delaware. Call our Wilmington criminal defense lawyers today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing defense strategy right away.



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