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Vernon Man Charged In RI Assault Says It Was Self-Defense

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By ERIKA NIEDOWSKI, Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ A Connecticut man charged with an assault on a Brown University basketball player that left him hospitalized with severe head injuries acted in self-defense, his attorney said Friday.

Tory Lussier, 24, of Vernon, Conn., made his initial appearance in Providence District Court on Friday on a felony assault charge. He was released on bail and had no comment outside court.

But his lawyer, John Lombardi, told a judge it was a “clear case of self-defense.” Asked later to elaborate, Lombardi declined.

Lussier is accused of assaulting 21-year-old Joseph Sharkey of Norwood, Mass., early Sunday morning near Thayer and George streets on the East Side following an altercation. Sharkey, a sophomore member of Brown’s basketball team, suffered serious head injuries and has been in critical condition at Rhode Island Hospital.. The hospital said Friday afternoon his family no longer wants it to release information about his condition.

Charles Calenda, special assistant attorney general, told the judge Friday the assault was an “unprovoked attack.”

Lussier is an active member of the Marine reserves and has served 10 months in Afghanistan, Lombardi said. He said Lussier was in Providence to see his superior officer and others with whom he has served. He said he doesn’t believe Lussier and Sharkey knew each other.

Lussier was arrested at his home in Vernon on Wednesday and waived extradition to Rhode Island in state court on Thursday. On Friday in Providence, Judge William C. Clifton set bail at $10,000 with surety, and Lussier’s father posted the $1,000 required for his release, Lombardi said.

A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for July 22.

Lussier is out on bail in a separate criminal case in Rockville Superior Court in Connecticut. Vernon police arrested him last September and charged him with second-degree assault, second-degree assault of an elderly person and breach of peace after an altercation in the parking lot of Connecticut Golf Land, an amusement park with miniature golf and go-karts.

He is due back in court in that case on May 29. Messages were left for his lawyer, Herman Woodard.

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Associated Press writer David Collins contributed to this report from Hartford, Conn.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)    

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