York City neighbor avoids jail in hatchet attack

Liz Evans Scolforo

A York City man told police he was trying to save a neighbor woman involved in a domestic argument when he whacked the couple's apartment door several times with a hatchet, breaking through a portion of the door.

Nova Anstine

But Carlos M. Valentin, the man involved in the domestic argument, wound up with a wound to the top of his head when the two men struggled over the hatchet, according to defense attorney Korey Leslie, who represented hatchet-wielding Nova Richard Anstine.

Anstine, 23, pleaded guilty Friday to simple assault and was sentenced to two years of probation, according to court records.

Valentin, 27, suffered a deep cut in the center hairline of his head, York City Police said. He was treated and released from York Hospital, according to a hospital spokesman.

What happened: About 4:15 a.m. May 29, Anstine heard downstairs neighbors Valentin and Aslin Acosta, 21, arguing inside their first-floor apartment at 122 E. Cottage Place, police said.

"It wasn't the first time there was a domestic (incident) in this apartment," Leslie said, and his client believed the woman was being assaulted. "Nova went downstairs to make sure this girl, who he's friends with, was OK."

Anstine grabbed what police described as a small "tactical hatchet" and knocked on the couple's door, but when he got no answer he whacked at the door with his hatchet, breaking through a portion of it, court documents state.

At that point, Anstine left the building and went to the nearby home of Acosta's mother to alert her to the situation, according to Leslie.

Wrestled for hatchet: Valentin came outside and he and Anstine ended up fighting for control of the weapon, the attorney said.

"Mr. Valentin actually chased my client and they got into a wrestling match on the sidewalk over the hatchet," Leslie said. "In the course of wrestling over this hatchet, Mr. Valentin ripped it away from Nova."

The hatchet had been tethered to Anstine's wrist but the tether broke when Valentin pulled it away, causing the hatchet to fly back and hit him in the head, according to Leslie. An ambulance took Valentin to the hospital, the attorney said.

Negligent: The simple assault section of the state crimes code to which Anstine pleaded guilty encompasses negligent acts, according to Leslie.

"The situation he created resulted in some negligent behavior that led to Valentin cutting himself in the head," he said.

Valentin was not charged for the alleged domestic dispute, court records show.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com