Mere minutes after the attorneys finished their closing statements, the Roxen Road assault trial closed late on Wednesday afternoon, with Matthew DiPerna and William Moore found guilty of third-degree attempted assault and third-degree assault, respectively.
The decision was delivered by Judge Christopher Quinn after a brief announcement forbidding outbursts in the courtroom, and comes more than 18 months after DiPerna and Moore engaged in a midnight fight with John Woythaler, following an alleged incident of verbal harassment toward his wife, Meredith. The scuffle put Woythaler in the hospital, with injuries to his jaw, lip, ribs and knees, among others.
The other three defendants — Kevin Coyle, Nolan Kelly and William Nelson — were found not guilty on all charges.
"How do you justify attacking one man with five people?" asked Brian Lee, the prosecuting attorney, in his closing statement. " ... They're athletes. They're no strangers to contact. There's no sense of, 'Oh, we're so afraid.'"
Michael DerGarabedian, who represented Nelson, criticized Lee earlier in the afternoon, implying a lack of integrity in the prosecution of the case — only a day after Lee submitted to the court a piece of evidence dating from June 20, 2012, which was two days after the incident.
"The truth always goes through three stages," DerGarabedian said. "First, it's ridiculed — by everybody in Rockville Centre. Next, it's opposed, by Mr. Lee. But ultimately, it becomes self-evident.
"Nothing," he added, "is uglier than reason when it's not on your side."
DiPerna and Moore are due back in court on Mar. 19 for sentencing. Moore faces a maximum of one year in jail, while Diperna may serve up to three months.