Meadville Tribune

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October 24, 2013

Meadville man arrested in Missouri

LEBANON, Mo. — A Meadville man who lost an eye in the most infamous Tasering incident in Meadville history has had a run-in with police in Missouri, resulting in his wife being Tasered.

Michael Mondo was arrested by Lebanon (Mo.) Police at the Hampton Inn near Lebanon for being a fugitive from justice. Mondo is wanted by Meadville Police on multiple charges including simple assault and reckless endangerment for allegedly trying to run over a man on Market Street earlier this month and threatening to set a patio on fire.

Meanwhile, his wife, Margaret E. Mondo, 54, of Meadville has been charged by Lebanon Police with a felony for allegedly interfering with the arrest of her husband, Michael A. Mondo, 54, of Meadville. Mrs. Mondo had to be subdued with a Taser, an electronic stun gun, according to the probable cause statement filed by Lebanon Police.

Margaret Mondo remains in the Laclede County, Mo., Jail in lieu of a $25,000 cash-only bond while Michael Mondo remains in the Laclede County Jail without bond, awaiting extradition back to Crawford County.

Crawford County District Attorney Francis Schultz said Wednesday the extradition process for Michael Mondo has started, but it is unknown when Mondo will be brought back to the county.

Mondo is wanted by Meadville Police on a charge of terroristic threats for allegedly threatening to set a fire to a patio at an apartment home on Market Street on Oct. 4; and reckless endangerment, simple assault and theft by unlawful taking for allegedly trying to run over a man outside the apartment home on Market Street on Oct. 10.

Mondo also is charged by Meadville Police with fleeing police, driving under the influence and four summary traffic violations for an incident Oct. 11.

Mondo had been arraigned on the DUI case Oct. 11 and was out on $10,000 unsecured bond when police learned of the prior Market Street incidents.

Sgt. Kevin Lippincott of Meadville Police said Mondo was called Oct. 11 and asked to appear at the police station by Oct. 15 to discuss Mondo’s version of the Oct. 4 and 10 events on Market Street, but Mondo failed to appear. Subsequent interviews with Mondo’s neighbors and others led police to develop leads that Mondo may have gone either to Erie, Lebanon or Tennessee, Lippincott said.

Meadville Police warned Lebanon officers that Michael Mondo might put up a fight, especially if he had been drinking, according to a probable cause statement released by the Laclede County Prosecuting Attorney’s office.

Five officers responded to the Hampton Inn in Lebanon at about 1:35 a.m. Monday where a 2004 Ford F150 with a Pennsylvania license plate was in the parking lot and a license check confirmed the truck was registered to Michael Mondo, the probable cause statement said.

The hotel clerk told police that the Mondos were in their room and had been out earlier in the evening to a local bar, the probable cause statement said.

Three officers went to the room and knocked on the door, but when no one answered, police had the hotel clerk open the door, the statement said. The officers identified themselves and saw Michael Mondo lying on a bed by the window. They told him to show his hands, and he answered, “What the (expletive) do you want?” according to the statement.

As the police entered the room, one officer saw a woman, Margaret Mondo, on the room’s other bed. Margaret and Michael Mondo both began yelling, cursing the officers and telling them to get out, according to the statement.

Margaret Mondo went toward an officer as Michael Mondo was being placed in handcuffs by two other officers, according to the statement. Margaret Mondo was advised multiple times to sit down on the bed, but she didn’t comply, the statement said. She then went toward the officer when she was again advised to sit down or she would be Tasered, the statement said.

Margaret Mondo then cursed and turned toward the other two officers who were handcuffing Michael Mondo, the statement said. The single officer used his left forearm to push Margaret Mondo back toward a bed when she again moved toward the officer, the statement said. The officer then used his Taser on Margaret Mondo’s stomach area, causing her to fall to the floor.

Michael Mondo lost his right eye after a Tasering incident with Meadville Police more than two years ago.

It was at 6:15 p.m. Aug. 23, 2011, in a church parking lot near 1080 Market St. when Meadville Police responded to a call indicating Market Street resident Michael Mondo was creating a disturbance. The Tribune’s investigation revealed that during the days before the incident the police had been warned by local mental health authorities Mondo was struggling with paranoid schizophrenia. The officers who responded to the call were aware of this and the Crawford County Mental Health Crisis Team was summoned to the scene by police when the call came in.

Before the crisis team arrived, however, one of the two officers at the scene deployed a Taser to subdue Mondo.

David Stefanucci, who was Meadville’s chief of police at the time, told the Tribune the officer said Mondo was told to stop moving at least twice but did not comply and kept moving. At that point, the officer aimed the Taser at Mondo’s “low center mass,” not his head, Stefanucci said.

A Taser shoots out barbs that hook on to a person’s skin or clothes. The barbs are attached to the Taser with wires that carry an electric charge disabling the person temporarily.

In the Aug. 23, 2011, incident, one of the Taser’s barbs impaled Mondo’s right eye, which he later lost after unsuccessful surgeries. Mondo, who disputes the claim he was suffering from mental health issues the day of the incident, said he suffered some memory loss after the incident and that his recollection of that day is sketchy. He said he recalls the officers appearing and one of them asking him if he had been drinking. His next memory is of after the Tasering.

Mondo later sued the city over the incident and based on a Meadville Tribune open records request the city later settled all claims Mondo may have had as a result of the incident without admitting fault.

The settlement was approximately $175,000 with about $60,000 going to an annuity of about $500 a month for a little more than 10 years.

Ken York is a reporter with The Daily Record of Lebanon, Mo., and can be reached kyork@lebanondailyrecord.com. Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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