Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon (Weed Whacker) in Neighborhood Dispute Results in Arrest
Last Sunday afternoon Mr. Robert Tiernan was using his weed whacker along a fence between his property and his neighbor's. According to the Medford Transcript, the man next door came outside along with his wife and a friend. They were "looking at the garden that is close to the shared fence . . . and asked [Tiernan] to stop for a few minutes, but he refused." What happened next will be the subject of several cases headed for Somerville District Court.
Tiernan told the police that after he refused to pause his weed whacker, one man threw a beer bottle at him. The bottle hit him and spilled beer all over his pants. His foot then got caught in the bottom of the fence, he lost his balance and his control of the weed whacker. He said that if anyone got whacked, it was an accident. The police observed injuries to the woman's arm.
The others told the police that Tiernan got argumentative when asked to stop. They said that he not only used the tool to shoot rocks and dirt at them, but he swung it over the fence and injured the woman.
When the police arrived they found Tiernan on the ground surrounded by three men. He was covered in blood, his shirt had been ripped off, he had bruises on his torso, and he had a cut over his eye that looked like it needed stitches.
The men claimed that after Tiernan committed the Assault and Battery with the whacker, one of them did hit him with a beer bottle, and then Tiernan started to walk away. They all approached him "fearing that he was going to flee." The three men then claimed that Tiernan attacked them and that he was injured as they defended themselves.
The police only arrested Tiernan on charges of Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon. They will, however, be filing Assault and Battery charges against the other men in the Somerville District Court. They seized the weed whacker as evidence.
A few questions: Why couldn't the neighbors wait until Tiernan finished his work? Couldn't they have "looked at the garden" a little later? Did Tiernan's refusal to shut off the machine justify the man's hitting him with a beer bottle? Why didn't the police arrest that man for felony Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon? After all he admitted it, even though he claimed he was defending himself from the swinging garden tool. If a fence separated the parties couldn't they all have just stepped back? Why was anyone close enough Tiernan to be in range of the the dirt and pebbles that got whipped up? For that matter, why was anyone close enough to be in range of the weed whacker at all? Did the three men really need to detain Tiernan? Did they think he would flee and never be found by the police? He lived next door. And did the three men really need to defend themselves from Tiernan? Did they follow him into his own yard? How big were these three and how old?
What was really going on there? Perhaps there was some previous "bad blood" between these people? Surely the presence of beer explains some of it.
In any event, Tiernan will be facing felony Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon Charges. The other three will likely have a hearing before a Clerk Magistrate to determine if Complaints will issue against them at all. If cooler heads don't prevail in the early going, this could be a long feud, in court and out.
They would all benefit with the assistance seasoned criminal defense attorneys to see to their individual best interests.