Bail unchanged for assault suspect — (Worcester Telegram)

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Worcester Telegram

By Gary V. Murray TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF,  gmurray@telegram.com

Injured officers remain out of work

WORCESTER­ Bail remained at $500,000 cash yesterday for a Worcester man charged with seriously injuring two police officers who were investigating allegations that the man tried to lure two female college students into his vehicle.

Antoine E. Ayoub, 46, of 12 Superior Road, was arrested Dec. 1 after he was stopped by police for questioning on Park Avenue and allegedly refused to get out of his car and drove off with two officers inside. The car struck a utility pole and flipped over, injuring both officers and Mr. Ayoub, according to prosecutors.

Michael T. Palermo of Charlton, a Clark University police officer who suffered a broken leg and rib and other injuries after being ejected from the vehicle, and Worcester police Officer Patrick Harrington, who suffered a broken rib and hip and ankle injuries, remain out of work.

Mr. Ayoub was using crutches and wearing a body cast when he appeared in Worcester Superior Court yesterday seeking a reduction of the $500,000 cash bail set at his Dec. 12 arraignment at UMass Memorial Medical Center ­ University Campus. Judge Francis R. Fecteau declined to reduce the bail to the $50,000 cash requested by Mr. Ayoub’s lawyer, George M. Nassar, but said he would reconsider the request Feb. 27, when Mr. Ayoub is scheduled to be arraigned anew in Worcester Superior Court.

Mr. Ayoub allegedly tried to lure two Clark University students into his yellow Dodge Neon during the early morning hours of Dec. 1 after flashing a badge. The students reported the incident to campus police, and Officer Palermo stopped Mr. Ayoub’s car on Park Avenue. Worcester police were called to assist, and Officer Harrington and other officers arrived.

Police said Mr. Ayoub was uncooperative and refused to get out of his car. Assistant District Attorney Lawrence J. Murphy, who opposed the bail reduction request, told Judge Fecteau yesterday that Officer Harrington reached into the car to remove the keys from the ignition and was pulled into the vehicle by Mr. Ayoub.

While Officer Harrington struggled with Mr. Ayoub, Officer Palermo smashed a window and jumped inside the car, the prosecutor said. Mr. Murphy said Mr. Ayoub drove off, striking another officer before the car hit a pole near 369 Park Ave.

Mr. Ayoub was charged in Central District Court with four counts each of assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery on a police officer, single counts of use of a firearm in a felony, resisting arrest, unlawful possession of a firearm, carrying a firearm without a license, driving so as to endanger, failing to stop for police and refusing to produce a license or registration and two counts of leaving the scene of a personal injury accident.

Police said a loaded .45-caliber handgun, a badge and binoculars were found inside Mr. Ayoub’s car. Mr. Nassar said yesterday that his client was “an honorary deputy sheriff.”

Mr. Murphy told Judge Fecteau that evidence in the case was recently presented to a grand jury, but that the resulting indictments against Mr. Ayoub had not yet been handed up in Worcester Superior Court. He said the indictments included charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, but that no indictments were returned on charges of assault with intent to murder.

Mr. Nassar said his client, who is married and has three children, was born in Lebanon and worked as a police officer in that country for 10 years before coming to the United States in 1988. In 1995, Mr. Ayoub suffered a work-related back injury that led to lumbar fusion surgery in 2003 and an addiction to prescribed painkillers, according to Mr. Nassar. Mr. Ayoub also began using antidepressant medications, the lawyer said.

Mr. Nassar said Mr. Ayoub fell into “a pattern of prescription drug dependence that started in 1995 and culminated at 2:30 in the morning when this incident happened.”

Mr. Ayoub’s wife and other family members attended yesterday’s hearing, along with officials and parishioners from St. George Orthodox Cathedral, where Mr. Ayoub serves as a chanter.

Two days before his arrest, Mr. Ayoub began drinking alcohol after becoming distraught over the jailing of one of his sons for violating the terms of his probation, according to Mr. Nassar. He said his client “simply went into a nervous breakdown and a collapse” and was “full of alcohol and drugs” at the time of his arrest.

He said Mr. Ayoub had little memory of the events that preceded his arrest and was unaware that the men who stopped him were police officers. Mr. Nassar said Mr. Ayoub broke his ankle in the crash and suffered back injuries that resulted in cervical and thoracic fusions.

“He’s not a risk of flight. He’s not going anywhere. He can’t go 30 feet,” the lawyer said.

Mr. Nassar asked that Mr. Ayoub’s bail be reduced to $50,000 cash, an amount he said his client’s family could post, and that he be placed under house arrest with an electronic monitoring device.

Judge Fecteau said he would reconsider the bail reduction request on Feb. 27 and suggested that Mr. Nassar arrange to have a psychological evaluation of his client done before then.