YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – For the first time since the incident happened two months ago, alleged victim Matt Gabel of Youngstown publicly gave his story on an altercation that he said left him with a broken jaw.
“I looked away for a second, and then, by the time I looked back, Nick Phillips punched me in the face,” he said.
Phillips, the retired Campbell Police officer who is now running for mayor of the City of Campbell, is charged with felonious assault for the August altercation at his Sycamore Drive home.
During a preliminary hearing on Monday, Gabel told the court that he went to Phillips’ home with the defendant’s step-daughter, Alyssa Morris, in August. He said Morris started arguing with her mother — Phillips’ wife, Laura.
“I stepped in between, grabbed ahold of Alyssa and pulled Alyssa toward me and tried to get Alyssa toward my car,” he said.
But Phillips’ wife, who cried in court on Monday, told a different story. She said her daughter struck her in the face, and then Gabel knocked her to the ground.
“He hit me from the side, like his body somehow hit me and I stumbled down,” she said.
When cross-examined by the prosecutor, however, Phillips admitted that she never put that in her statement to police on the night of the alleged attack.
“It’s not false, but what I wrote is true,” she said.
Following the testimony from Gabel and Laura Phillips, Nick Phillips took the stand and told the court he ran out of the house after seeing his wife fall.
“I said, ‘Matt what are you doing? What the hell’s the matter with you? Get your hands off my wife.’ And at that point, he came at me, so I would defend my wife,” Phillips testified. “I thought he was going to strike me, and I reached out and I defended myself.”
When questioned by the prosecutor, however, Phillips admitted that he also left some details out of his statement to police.
“I’ll agree that there’s difference in the wording, absolutely,” he said.
The testimony was enough for a visiting judge to rule that the case will go before a Mahoning County grand jury. Phillips’ lawyer, Jay Macejko, said he will try to delay the trial until after the November election in Campbell.