LOCKPORT – The Town of Niagara man accused of beating professional boxer Nick Casal with a metal object in a fight faced new legal trouble Monday.
Michael P. Vicki was arraigned in Niagara County Court on two counts of third-degree insurance fraud and one count of attempted third-degree grand larceny.
Vicki, 31, of Portland Street, pleaded not guilty to allegations that he crashed his car into a tree on Frontier Avenue in Niagara Falls May 6, left the scene and then reported to his insurance company that his vehicle had been stolen.
The indictment said he collected $21,783 from New York Central Mutual Insurance. A tentative trial date was set for the first anniversary of the wreck.
Assistant District Attorney Heather A. DeCastro said a witness to the crash wanted a court order of protection against Vicki because some of the defendant’s co-workers had been contacting him and telling him “to back off,” as DeCastro put it.
“If a boxer can be beaten to that level, he’s very concerned,” DeCastro told County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas, who granted the order.
Farkas warned Vicki that she will jail him without bail to await trial if anyone bothers the witness.
Also Monday, Farkas rejected an effort by defense attorney James J. Faso Jr. to reduce the first-degree assault charge against Vicki in the Casal case.
Faso argued that the charge should be second-degree assault.
That would reduce the maximum prison sentence that Vicki would face to seven years instead of 25 years if he is convicted in the May 12 attack on the 21-year-old junior welterweight contender.
Faso said, “The injuries sustained by Mr. Casal do not rise to the level required by the [first-degree assault] statute.”
Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann disagreed, saying that Casal suffered four or five deep head lacerations.
His skull was exposed, he suffered bleeding in his brain, and doctors used 15 staples and 250 to 300 stitches to close all the wounds.
Faso said Casal went home after the fight but was taken to the hospital later that day. Hoffmann said that “shouldn’t be held against him.”
However, DNA test results on blood spatter inside the house still have not been received, causing Farkas to postpone Vicki’s assault trial from Dec. 3 to Jan. 28.