By Keith Gushard
Calling the kicking of a man in the face when the victim already is down on his hands and knees a “most chilling aspect,” Judge John Spataro has ruled 16-year-old Timothy Bolden will be tried as an adult in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas on felony aggravated assault and other charges.
Bolden is one of two teenagers charged by Meadville Police with beating a Meadville man outside the CVS pharmacy on North Street at 3 a.m. New Year’s Day. The 34-year-old victim sustained multiple facial fractures that have required surgery.
Spataro’s ruling came early Thursday evening after more than five hours of court proceedings. Thursday was the third and final day of a certification hearing before Judge Spataro to determine if Bolden was to be tried as a juvenile or an adult. A trial date has not been determined.
Bolden buried his face in his hands and sobbed quietly when Spataro announced Bolden would be tried as an adult.
However, Wes Rowden, Bolden’s defense attorney, said he intends to explore whether he can appeal Spataro’s certification ruling and, if so, whether any appeal would be to county, Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth or Superior court.
Bolden is charged by Meadville Police with aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, two counts of simple assault, recklessly endangering and two counts of harassment for his alleged role in the early New Year’s Day attack. The alleged 3 a.m. assault was filmed by a video from a security camera outside the CVS store.
Taking the witness stand himself, Bolden said he was provoked by the victim as he described events shown in the security video that was played in court.
The video showed a man exiting a car and getting a movie from a self-service kiosk outside the drug store as a group of teens walked behind the vehicle.
Bolden testified the man was yelling but Bolden didn’t understand what the man had said. Bolden said he walked back, stood behind the car and asked the man if he was speaking to Bolden. The man kept yelling, according to Bolden.
“He was telling me to hit him and I said ‘I don’t want to fight,’” Bolden testified, saying that he only wanted an apology from the man.
The man then ran up to Bolden and bumped Bolden, according to Bolden.
“I pushed him away and he bumped me again,” Bolden said.
Bolden then hit the man in the face with one of his fists, the man countered with an attempted kick of Bolden and then Bolden tripped him to the ground, Bolden testified.
The two fought, became separated with the man on his hands and knees when Bolden walked away, but then came back, Bolden said.
Bolden admitted he kicked the man in the face.
“I was very upset,” Bolden said when asked by Rowden why he went back to the man. “There was blood in my mouth. My braces were broken.”
“Walk away,” Bolden responded when asked what he would do differently if he could about the incident.
Bolden also testified the reason he had two prior Crawford County Juvenile convictions of criminal trespass was for entering two homes.
“I wanted money,” Bolden said.
Bolden has been in trouble with Crawford County’s juvenile court system about a half-dozen times in the past 22 months, including two previous criminal trespass and a simple assault case.
Under cross-examination by Craig Howe, assistant district attorney, Bolden admitted he had been given house arrest for failing to follow rules of his probation.
“Yes,” Bolden said when asked if it was his choice to commit more criminal acts while on probation.
The alleged victim, who has an excess of $60,000 in medical bills following surgery, briefly took the stand. He testified he suffers some social anxiety from the attack.
The Tribune generally does not use the names of alleged victims in crimes.
In making his ruling to have Bolden tried as an adult, Judge Spataro found Bolden was a threat to the community, noting Bolden’s crimes had escalated in the past 22 months from property crimes to physical assaults.
Spataro called Bolden’s alleged assault on the man “a deliberate and willful act.”
The judge said the victim, on his hands and knees, couldn’t defend himself.
“It was totally unnecessary to kick a defenseless person on his hands and knees on a cold January day,” Spataro said.
Following Thursday’s hearing, Spataro set Bolden’s bond at $25,000 and Bolden was taken to the Crawford County jail Thursday night. Spataro ordered Bolden be placed on house arrest/electronic monitoring if Bolden makes bond.
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.