WILKES-BARRE — No victim, no crime? Not so fast.
Luzerne County President Judge Thomas F. Burke Jr. has assigned an alleged assault with a power saw to the jurisdiction of a different district judge after prosecutors objected to District Judge Martin Kane dismissing the case earlier this month when the suspect’s girlfriend — the woman police said was assaulted — refused to testify.
Police said Lamar Bobbett, 28, of Woodward Street, was charged with two counts of aggravated assault and a single count of simple assault after he allegedly beat Ashley Marie Nagy and cut her head and neck with a power saw on March 25.
When Nagy, the first witness, appeared at a preliminary hearing for Bobbett on May 1, she told prosecutors she did not want to testify.
Assistant District Attorney Cara Lunell Solimine said she wanted to continue, indicating Nagy provided city police with a written statement.
Kane did not agree.
“No victim, no crime,” Kane said.
Prosecutors did not agree with Kane, and decided to do something about it.
Solimine and District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis responded by filing a county court petition seeking reassignment of the case, noting the prosecution and all of its witnesses were present for the hearing, and that Kane had made an error of law by denying the commonwealth the right to call witnesses at a preliminary hearing.
Burke’s order, which was signed Tuesday, assigns jurisdiction over the case to District Judge David Barilla, of Swoyersville, who will have authority to conduct a preliminary hearing.
Prosecutors have refiled their criminal complaint in the case.
Bobbett has a history of abusing women, as The Times Leader previously reported.
Court records say Bobbett punched a woman in the face inside a nightclub in Hanover Township on Feb. 18, 2011. He was sentenced Sept. 20, 2012, in the Luzerne County’s Intermediate Punishment Program, which he violated when he was arrested by Edwardsville police on drug offenses on Nov. 12, 2012.
Bobbett pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance and paid a $400 fine, court records say.
Kingston police charged Bobbett with robbery and simple assault when he allegedly beat a woman he believed owed him money for a broken television on May 6, 2011. Charges were dismissed against Bobbett when the woman refused to testify against him, according to court records.