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Defendant requests mental health court


February 17. 2013 9:29AM
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WILKES-BARRE – A city resident who police say attacked a 79-year-old man inside a Scott Street apartment building wants his case to be heard in the county's mental health court program.


Bryandt Arion Shelly, 36, of Scott Street, appeared in Luzerne County Court Wednesday on charges of aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment stemming from a July 2011 incident where police say Shelly attacked John Harrison inside the East End Towers. Police allege Harrison's nose was partially torn off.


Shelly's attorney, Tom Cometa, said his client has applied to have the case heard in mental health court so that he may receive treatment, but Shelly has not yet been accepted into the program.


Judge Fred Pierantoni scheduled a hearing for Nov. 19 so Cometa can update him on Shelly's status.


Offenders who are accepted will stay out of jail if they faithfully complete treatment prescribed by the mental health court team.


Most offenders who enter the program as an alternative to criminal court face non-violent misdemeanor or felony charges, though some violent charges may be accepted on a case-by-case basis.


According to court papers, on July 15, police were called to the East End Towers for the report of an assault.


When police arrived, they observed blood in the lobby and nearby bathroom, where they located Harrison. Harrison said he was exiting an elevator when he accidently bumped into Shelly. That's when Shelly began to hit him numerous times, knocking him to the ground, according to court papers.


Shelly told police that Harrison called him a derogatory term and that Harrison swung at him first.


Doctors at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital said Harrison suffered several facial injuries, including fractures of his nose and eye.


Harrison had to undergo reconstruction surgery that left him with permanent scarring.




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