A local man, whose criminal history includes a conviction on federal charges for selling cocaine, admitted on Thursday to assaulting a woman as part of a plea deal.
Michael B. Petruccelli, 55, was arraigned in December 2018 in Rutland criminal court on two felony counts of first-degree aggravated domestic assault.
At the time, Petruccelli was charged as a habitual offender, a sentencing enhancement that can be filed against someone who has been convicted of three or more felonies. In Petruccelli’s case, the previous charges were all from Rutland County and included aggravated domestic assault from October 2013, second-degree unlawful restraint from March 2012 and sexual assault on a person younger than 16 from February 1998.
The charges against Petruccelli were based on an affidavit written by Trooper Ryan Gardner, of the Vermont State Police, who said he was dispatched around 5:20 p.m. Dec. 2, 2018, to Pittsford.
At the home, they spoke to a woman, who was 56 at the time.
She told emergency dispatchers that Petruccelli had assaulted her. She said at the time of her call that she could only see out of one eye and was hiding from Petruccelli in the bathroom.
When troopers arrived they saw “visible injuries to her eye and face.” The affidavit said there was dried blood around the woman’s mouth and her right eye was swollen.
Petruccelli denied any incident had taken place, Gardner wrote in the affidavit.
The woman told troopers she and Petruccelli had been drinking during the day.
She said she “play slapped” Petruccelli and he then “pummeled” her.
The woman said Petruccelli had put his hands over her nose and mouth and strangled her until she was unconscious.
Also, the woman told Gardner she was afraid to tell him everything because she was afraid Petruccelli would return to the home and kill her.
At the time, Petruccelli was under federal probation after being convicted in federal court of drug crimes in November 2015 and sentenced to 4 years in jail.
Gardner noted that Petruccelli had been convicted of other violent crimes such as misdemeanor domestic assault in October 2013 and a felony count of kidnapping in January 1998.
During the Thursday hearing in Rutland criminal court, attorney Joshua Stern, who represented Petruccelli, said he had expected his client would change his plea and be sentenced.
Rutland County Deputy State’s Attorney Travis Weaver said he expected the sentencing would happen at a later date. He said he didn’t know whether the woman who had accused Petruccelli wanted to appear at his sentencing, but said he wanted her to have that opportunity.
Petruccelli entered a plea agreement on Thursday under which the state will dismiss one of the charges against him and the habitual offender sentencing enhancement and Petruccelli is expected to be ordered to serve 7 to 7½ years.
He has about 2 years credit for time he has already served in prison.
While the Vermont Department of Corrections is usually asked to perform a pre-sentence investigation, the prosecution and defense agreed to waive that step in this case.
Stern and Weaver, as well as Petruccelli, appeared remotely on Thursday.