Cheswick councilman's assault trial begins



SPRINGDALE, Pa. - An Allegheny County jury on Monday watched Cheswick Councilman Jonathan Skedel standing over the borough's fire company president in a Springdale parking lot and slug him in the face as he tried to get up.

“Skedel is waiting for him. He's waiting for him to get up” before punching him, Assistant District Attorney Albert Veverka told jurors as they watched a video of the altercation. “This trial is about one thing. It's about that one punch.”

Skedel, 58, is charged with simple assault and making a false statement to police for a brawl about 9:45 a.m. on Sept. 19 in the parking lot of Health Star Physical Therapy on Pittsburgh Street.

Skedel's defense attorney, Phil DiLucente, said his client was walking his dog when he came across Joseph Ferrero, 62, of Cheswick. Skedel called Ferrero names, but was defending himself when he struck the man.

“He wasn't looking for trouble that day,” DiLucente said.

Springdale police Chief Joe Naviglia said the men exchanged words and were about to go their separate ways when Skedel insulted Ferrero's wife. Ferrero ran up to Skedel, pulled at his shirt and caused him to fall to a knee. Skedel then shoved Ferrero, knocking him to the ground, and punched him in the jaw as he tried to get up, Naviglia said.

The video showed the altercation lasted 21 seconds.

Skedel, a contractor, is expected to take the stand in his defense during the trial.

He also is awaiting a preliminary hearing on charges of simple assault and harassment over an incident in Plum. In that case, Skedel allegedly got into a dispute with several subcontractors and is accused of brandishing a handgun.

That hearing before District Judge Linda Inez Zucco is scheduled for April 24.

This article was written by Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE.