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Westminster man charged after allegedly wielding hammer, choking man

Francis X. Villella Jr.
Francis X. Villella Jr. (Carroll County Sheriff's Office)

A Westminster man allegedly tried to strike another man with a hammer wrapped in a towel, police say.

Francis X. Villella Jr., 48, was charged with first- and second-degree assault Thursday and was released on his own recognizance Friday, online court records show.

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Westminster police responded to a report of an assault at about 10:38 a.m. at a residence and encountered Villella and another man he’d argued with, according to charging documents.

The man told police he’d confronted Villella after overhearing an argument between Villella and another man earlier that day in the residence, when Villella asked to be driven to an appointment, charging documents read.

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Villella then hit the man who confronted him, punching him several times in the head and shoulder, charging documents state. The man told police he tried to hold Villella back, but Villella put his hands around the man’s neck, choking him for about 15 seconds until the man kicked Villella to get away, then Villella choked him again, according to charging documents.

After Villella let the man go, Villella retrieved a hammer wrapped in a towel and tried to hit him, but the man took the hammer and called 911, charging documents read. The man alleged Villella threatened him while he was on the phone.

Police wrote that red marks could be seen on the man’s neck and that no recent injuries were visible on Villella, though he appeared to have old bruises on his arms.

Villella told police the dispute began over use of a vehicle when the other man pushed Villella, kicked him in the stomach and grabbed him by the neck, charging documents read. Villella said he then grabbed the man by the throat, let go, then got a hammer wrapped in a towel, telling the man to let him go, charging documents state.

Villella told police he wrapped the hammer in a towel because he did not wish to hurt the other man, who then called the police, according to charging documents.

There were no charges filed against the man who argued with Villella as of 5 p.m. Friday in online court records. Police determined Villella was the primary aggressor and arrested him.

A call to the number listed for Villella in online court records was not returned Friday. There was no attorney listed for Villella online.

A court date had yet to be scheduled Monday morning.

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