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Second man pleads guilty in vicious Red Lion skateboard attack

Liz Evans Scolforo
717-505-5429/@LizScolforoYD

A second man has pleaded guilty for his role in an attack that left a Red Lion father with life-changing brain damage.

LOGO arrest

Danny Graffius, 20, now of Pasadena, Md., pleaded guilty to simple assault Thursday in York County Court for the Aug. 22, 2014, attack that seriously injured Guy Verdinelli.

His negotiated guilty plea calls for him to serve two years of probation, according to Heather Reiner, his defense attorney.

But while presiding Common Pleas Judge Richard K. Renn accepted the guilty plea, he chose not to immediately sentence Graffius.

Instead, Renn ordered a pre-sentence investigation be done and scheduled sentencing for Feb. 4, according to court records.

Reiner confirmed the judge is considering whether he should accept the prosecution's sentencing recommendation of probation. State law would allow Graffius to withdraw his guilty plea if Renn imposes a harsher sentence.

Graffius has no prior criminal record and is working two jobs, Reiner said.

The background: Verdinelli, who was 39 at the time, was walking through a parking lot just off North Main Street in Red Lion with fiancee Christina Thompson and another woman about 10:45 p.m. when they were approached by three men, including Graffius and Devin Flaharty, who began harassing the women, York Area Regional Police have said.

Verdinelli told the trio to back off and they began pushing him and trying to hit him, police said. As Thompson called 911, Flaharty came up behind Verdinelli and hit him in the head with a skateboard.

Verdinelli collapsed and was lying on the ground when Graffius punched him four or five times in the head, after which the attackers ran off, according to police, who said Verdinelli was still unconscious when officers arrived at the scene.

Flaharty, 20, of Freysville Road in Windsor Township, was sentenced in April to a year minus a day to two years minus two days in York County Prison, plus five years of probation. He pleaded guilty in February to aggravated assault and must also pay restitution for his victim's medical bills, according to court records.

'Long road' ahead: Verdinelli and Thompson both spoke in court at Flaharty's sentencing hearing about how the attack changed their lives.

"The healing process has been slow, and I struggle to accept that I have a long road ahead of me to (return to) a functional state," he said.

Verdinelli, who prior to the attack worked as a wood assembler at Mastercraft Specialties in Red Lion, is disabled and can no longer do the work that once supported Thompson and their children, he said.

"My role as a financial provider for my family is a duty that I can no longer fulfill as I struggle to be able to complete daily tasks," he said in court.

"We are struggling just to (buy) diapers," Thompson said in court. "I wonder if we can lead normal lives again."

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.

Devin Flaharty