Prison for 2nd man involved in Red Lion skateboard attack
A second man has been sent to York County Prison for his role in a vicious skateboard attack that left a Red Lion man with life-changing brain damage.
Danny Graffius, 20, of Pasadena, Maryland, was sentenced Thursday to two years of intensive probation, with the first 30 days in county prison and the next 60 days on house arrest, according to court records. He was remanded to prison immediately, records state.
He was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service, but presiding Common Pleas Judge Richard K. Renn said that service can be reduced to 50 hours if Graffius is working at least 30 hours a week, records state.
Graffius, who has no prior record, also was ordered to pay roughly $45,000 in restitution, defense attorney Heather Reiner said.
He pleaded guilty Dec. 10 to simple assault. At the time, Reiner said his negotiated plea agreement called for him to serve two years of probation. Renn accepted the guilty plea but postponed sentencing and ordered a pre-sentence investigation.
The background: Guy 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. Aug. 22, 2014, when they were approached by Graffius, Devin Flaharty and a third man, all of whom 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 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 2015 to aggravated assault and must also pay restitution for his victim's medical bills, according to court records.
'Long road' ahead: Verdinelli and Thompson spoke at the sentencing hearings of both Graffius and Flaharty 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," Verdinelli said in April.
Before the attack, Verdinelli worked as a wood assembler at Mastercraft Specialties in Red Lion, but he 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 at Flaharty's sentencing.
"I wonder if we can lead normal lives again," Thompson has said.
Apologized: Reiner said the attack has changed her client, who apologized in court and who is getting counseling for substance-abuse issues.
"He said that since this happened he hasn't used any drugs or alcohol," she said, adding she thinks alcohol played a part in the attack.
Graffius' stepmother told the court he has matured since the incident, has been making positive changes in his life and wishes he could take back what he did, according to Reiner.
"She also said since this happened, he really contributes to the family and is now an asset to the family," the attorney said. "This has been a life-changing experience for Danny."
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org.