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Prison in York Twp. neighbor dispute that turned violent

Liz Evans Scolforo
717-505-5429/@LizScolforoYD

A York Township man who police said beat his neighbor into unconsciousness over parking and other issues must spend at least five years in state prison.

Thomas Caswell

Thomas William Caswell, 53, of the 100 block of Oak Manor Drive, had been charged with offenses including aggravated assault, simple assault and public drunkenness for the attack inside his next-door neighbor's home.

As part of a negotiated plea agreement, those charges were dropped after he pleaded guilty to burglary and was sentenced to five to 10 years in prison, according to court records. Caswell will get credit for the 165 days he served in York County Prison after being arrested.

He also was ordered to pay about $883 in restitution to neighbor Stefan May for the incident, records state.

York Area Regional Police said Caswell knocked on May's door about 7:35 p.m. Sept. 17, prompting May to open his door and take a step outside.

Un-neighborly: Caswell was angry because he had issues about how May was parking in their lot, and because he claimed May kept his porch light lit "all the time," according to court documents.

The two men exchanged words, police said.

May testified at Caswell's preliminary hearing that prior to being assaulted, he spit on Caswell, according to defense attorney Ron Jackson Jr.

Caswell then shoved May inside the victim's home, with May ending up on his living-room floor and Caswell straddling him, police said.

Caswell punched May several times in the face and head, knocking May unconscious, court documents state. May told officers that when he woke up, Caswell was gone.

May called 911 to summon help, at which point Caswell returned and yelled at the man about "getting the cops involved," documents state.

Broken cheekbone: May suffered a broken cheekbone, chipped or broken teeth, bruising, and severe swelling and pain, according to police, who said he was treated at York Hospital.

Caswell told officers he has a short temper and that "he was the wrong guy to do this to," documents state. He said he grabbed May around the neck, shoved the man inside his house, took him to the floor and gave him two "good cracks," documents state.

Caswell also said he drank about a six-pack of beer prior to the incident, according to police.

Senior deputy prosecutor Jonathan Blake said the burglary charge was lodged because Caswell entered May's home without permission.

Blake confirmed burglary is a first-degree felony — the same grading as Caswell's initial aggravated assault charge — and said the agreement allowed both sides to avoid trial.

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