The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

November 6, 2012

City man faces assault charges

JOHNSTOWN — A Johnstown man allegedly beat another man in the city’s West End last month in retaliation for a seven-year-old dispute that originated in South Carolina, authorities said.

City police said William Garrett Nelson, 33, beat the man so badly that surgeons in Pittsburgh needed to insert two titanium plates into his face and stitch his right eye shut.

Nelson, of the 500 block of Messenger Street, was charged Monday with aggravated assault and simple assault.

In a criminal complaint, city police said Nelson allegedly assaulted Joseph Cunningham Oct. 10 at a home on Center Place. Cunningham was at the home to pick up a friend when Nelson showed up.

Nelson allegedly punched Cunningham, pushed him to the floor, and kicked him in the face while wearing what might have been steel-toe work boots, police said.

Cunningham, whose age and address were not listed, was treated at Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown before being transferred to a Pittsburgh hospital, police said.

Cunningham suffered a facial fracture, a collapsed jaw and eye injury.

The assault stemmed from a seven-year-old dispute in South Carolina, where the two men were living.

Police said Cunningham told them that he had met a girl online who was from Bedford. Cunningham asked her to send him $50 for gas money, which she did. Cunningham told police he really needed drinking money and that Nelson did not ask him for gas money.

Nelson accused Cunningham of scamming the girl’s family out of $50 and allegedly told him if he ever saw him again he would assault him.

Nelson was arraigned by on-call District Judge Michael Musulin of Johnstown and released on bond.

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