The Roxen Road assault case concluded behind closed doors on March 20 after Supervising County Court Judge Christopher Quinn granted the two defendants, Matthew DiPerna and William Moore, youthful offender status, and sealed all records in the case.
Youthful offender status is granted at sentencing to those who are charged with crimes committed when they were between ages 16 and 19, and is intended to relieve the defendants from having a permanent criminal record. Quinn’s sentences for the two are, and will remain, unknown to the public.
After DiPerna’s attorney, John R. Lewis Jr., alleged that unfair or biased news coverage might have contributed to “vitriolic” behavior toward the defendants and their families by other village residents, Quinn decided that it would be in the best interests of the court to seal the case.
In January, DiPerna and Moore were found guilty of third-degree attempted assault and third-degree assault, respectively, more than 20 months after an incident late in the evening of June 18, 2012, in which the teenagers, along with three other defendants were accused of shouting obscenities at Eton Road resident Meredith Woythaler as she walked her dog down Nottingham Road. The woman grew fearful, according to police reports, and ran home to tell her husband, John, about the incident. The two then drove around the neighborhood, looking to demand an apology from the teens, before finding a group of similarly dressed boys on Roxen Road. The defense maintained that there was not enough evidence to determine whether these boys were the same as those on Nottingham Road.
When John Woythaler confronted the group, a fight broke out, during which Woythaler suffered injuries to his jaw, lip, ribs and knees that were later treated at Mercy Medical Center. His wife, who testified that she was pushed to the ground during the scuffle, was not injured, nor was Don Schulz, a neighbor who attempted to break up the brawl.
After reviewing the case, Quinn determined that there was not enough evidence to convict Coyle, Kelly or Nelson. The prosecution’s main evidence was video from a nearby house’s surveillance camera, which was too grainy to positively identify the combatants, and witness testimony was inconclusive. However, Moore was identified by multiple witnesses as having struck Woythaler in the face after the fight ended, and DiPerna was accused of kicking him in the face.