A district judge Monday ordered a Deemston man to stand trial on charges stemming from an alleged attack on an East Bethlehem Township commissioner in a bar restroom.
David A. Lingis, 37, of 554 Ridgewood Drive, appeared at District Judge Joshua Kanalis’ office on charges of aggravated assault, simple assault and harassment filed earlier this month by state police, who said Lingis assaulted Paul Battaglini at Riviera Bar Dec. 16 following the township Christmas party.
The charges were held for court without a preliminary hearing during which either side could have called witnesses or made arguments about the merits of the case. Defense attorney Pete Marcoline said he expects to challenge the prosecution’s case.
Police said Battaglini and several other commissioners remained at the bar after the party. Battaglini went alone to the restroom about 11:13 p.m. Lingis allegedly followed him two minutes later. No one else was in the bathroom, according to an affidavit police filed in support of the charges.
“During the altercation Lingis struck the victim with his hands which caused the victim to fall onto the toilet thus breaking it into several pieces,” Trooper Jared Johnson wrote.
Bar patrons heard loud noises coming from the restroom, and one of them went there to investigate. The patron found Battaglini unconscious across the broken toilet, with Lingis standing over him, police said.
Police allege a brief argument took place in the restroom and “in turn led to a physical confrontation.” However, Battaglini previously told the Observer-Reporter he didn’t believe he argued with Lingis.
Battaglini was taken to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, where he was diagnosed with bleeding of the brain as a result of the alleged attack, police said.
The commissioner said Monday as he left Kanalis’ court he was admitted to the hospital for two days. He said he’s needed to use a machine to help him breathe when he sleeps since the incident, which he said he couldn’t recall.
“I actually don’t remember a thing,” he said. “I don’t remember walking into that restroom or anything.”