CAMPBELL, Ohio (WKBN) – A candidate for Campbell mayor turned himself in to authorities Tuesday on charges of felonious assault.
Nick Phillips was wanted in connection to an August altercation at his Sycamore Drive home where the victim Matt Gabel, who is the former boyfriend of Phillips’ stepdaughter, claims Phillips punched him so hard it broke his jaw.
Phillips said Gabel was arguing with Phillips’ wife when he intervened and punched him.
With his wife sitting at his side, Phillips appeared in court Tuesday to face the charges.
“We felt there was sufficient evidence to charge with felonious assault, and that is how we’ve chosen to proceed at this point,” said Youngstown Assistant Prosecutor Jeff Moliterno.
Moliterno was assigned to the case after Campbell’s law director recused himself from the case.
Phillips attorney, Jay Macejko, said the case should have never made it into a courtroom.
“This is a case that should have never left the prosecutor’s desk. I think when you are presented with half or a portion of the story, you end up with a bad case like this,” Macjeko said.
Macejko said Gabel knocked Phillips’ wife to ground and that’s when Phillips stepped in to defend her.
Macejko also questions the timing of the charges, coming so close to the November election when Phillips, who is also a former city police officer, is challenging incumbent Mayor Bill Vansuch.
“I don’t believe in coincidences,” Macejko said.
Phillips is scheduled for another court appearance Oct. 6. Municipal Judge Pat Cunning is expected to request a visiting judge be named to hear the case. Macejko says he hopes the charges will be dismissed.