A 72-year-old man who was concerned for the safety of a small child left alone in a stroller outside a downtown Dunkin’ Donuts Wednesday afternoon was violently assaulted after going inside to ask whose child it was, police said.
Steven Jonathan Thackery, 22, of 7 Orange St., Salem, then literally added insult to injury when he told to police that he thought the older man was a “pedophile,” an assertion he repeated in Salem District Court during his arraignment Thursday. The older man is not.
Now, Thackery — who was recently released from jail for other assaultive behavior, a prosecutor said — is being held on $10,000 bail, charged with assault and battery on an elderly person and violating the city’s knife ordinance.
Police were called to the Washington Street Dunkin’ Donuts around 3:30 p.m. for a report of a fight.
The older man, who had swelling on the left side of his face and a cut under his eye, told police that when he went inside to ask where the child’s guardian was, the man later identified as Thackery and Thackery’s girlfriend, Jamie Primus, yelled at him to mind his own business, according to a police report.
The two then “got in his face” and continued yelling, according to the report, and Thackery punched him repeatedly.
It turns out that neither Thackery nor Primus were the parents of the young child.
Thackery, questioned by police, claimed that he was hit first and was defending himself against the other man, who is 50 years his senior.
“It should be noted that there were no marks or cuts of any kind on Thackery’s face to indicate he had been struck,” noted Patrolman Fred Dubiel.
Thackery also claimed that the reason he thought the older man was a pedophile was because he was standing too close to the child, in his opinion.
Prosecutor Meagan Buckley, whose request for $10,000 cash bail was granted by Judge Robert Brennan, described Thackery’s lengthy record, which includes repeated stints in jail for both violent crimes and larcenous behavior.
Defense lawyer Steven Reardon said his client, who after his recent release from jail found work as a prep cook at a Gloucester restaurant, insists he acted in self-defense. He urged the judge to release Thackery.
But Brennan, who also noted Thackery’s record, disagreed. “A 72-year-old man, punched in the face several times — $10,000 is right in line,” said the judge.
If Thackery makes bail, a prospect that appeared unlikely, he was ordered to have no contact with the victim while the case is pending.
He is due back in court July 1. ..Source.. by Julie Manganis