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Westminster man enters plea for assaulting deputy

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- Original Credit:(HANDOUT)

A Westminster man who assaulted a Carroll County Sheriff's Office deputy in December was ordered to receive mental health treatment before he is sentenced.

Mark Noel Palmisano, 53, of the 1200 block of Pinch Valley Road, pleaded not guilty but agreed not to challenge the state's version of the facts to one count of second degree assault Tuesday. He will be transported to a mental health care facility and sentenced on June 30.

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Defense attorney Kirk Seaman said he may file paperwork to have Palmisano found guilty but not criminally responsible depending on the outcome of evaluations at the treatment facility.

A deputy responded to Palmisano's residence on Dec. 14 for a report of a domestic disturbance and was met at the door by Palmisano, who was holding a frying pan and yelling at the deputy to leave the property, according to the statement of facts read into the record by Senior Assistant State's Attorney Adam Wells.

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Palmisano's mother told the deputy she feared her son would harm her or someone else, Wells said. Palmisano continued to yell at the deputy, accusing him of being an alien.

The deputy told Palmisano he was going to take him to the hospital to be evaluated, but Palmisano resisted and began to assault the deputy, striking him in the face and body, before the deputy was able to restrain Palmisano and wait for backup, Wells said.

Palmisano was eventually taken into custody and transported to Carroll Hospital, according to Wells. A search of his pockets revealed a loaded handgun.

"It's obvious that there was some sort of a psychotic episode," Seaman said Tuesday.

While at the Carroll County Detention Center, Palmisano was prescribed medication but refused to take it, according to Seaman.

"This is a man who, for whatever reason, doesn't believe in ingesting psychotropic drugs," he said.

However, Palmisano agreed to take prescribed medications if a second doctor at the treatment facility tells him they are necessary.

Wells said that although Palmisano had no criminal record before this incident, this first one was serious.

"He assaulted a police officer while in possession of a gun," Wells said. Seaman pointed out that Palmisano possessed the gun on his own property.

Judge Michael M. Galloway said he understands Palmisano's aversion to prescribed medication but said it might be in his best interest.

410-857-7898

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