LISBON - A Mentor man who hit his ex-wife's boyfriend in January was convicted of assault by a jury in Columbiana County Municipal Court on Wednesday.
Gerald Mangelo, 36, was ordered by Judge Carol Robb to serve 29 days of electronically monitored house arrest, attend anger management sessions and to perform 40 hours community service. He was credited with one day in jail already served.
During a one-day jury trial, the jury heard testimony by the prosecution's witnesses - sheriff's Deputy Kevin Shulas, Mangelo's ex-wife, Tracy Mangelo, her boyfriend, Darren Ketchum, and his sister, Kelly Sue Ketchum. Mangelo and his teenage daughter also testified on his behalf.
Additional evidence came in the form of a 911 tape, where Kelly Sue Ketchum could be heard yelling, "He's hitting my brother" while the assault was occurring.
Assistant County Prosecutor Megan Payne in her closing argument emphasized Mangelo had called the sheriff's department prior to arriving at the Ketchum home on Gavers Road, demanding deputies come stand by at the house when he went to pick up his children and a tax document his ex-wife had told him came in the mail. However, the sheriff's department informed him they do not provide the service.
Payne said Mangelo was angry they did not come and was angry when his ex-wife did not send the tax paper out to him. She said Mangelo knew there would be trouble or he would not have called the deputies. She noted he could have asked his daughter to go back inside for the paper, but knowing the strained relationship with his ex-wife, she felt Gerald Mangelo should have never gotten out of the car.
Payne said Mangelo was told at the door his ex-wife had decided to give the tax document, which came in her mailbox, to her attorney so it could be forwarded to his attorney. At that point, they testified, Mangelo flew into a rage and began breaking the door and furniture on the front porch. Darren Ketchum went out and insisted Mangelo leave. Ketchum admitted he grabbed his shirt and told him to leave.
According to the prosecution Mangelo, struck Ketchum two or three times in the face, leaving red swelling on his face which was depicted in a photo provided to the jury by Payne.
Defense attorney Joseph King told a different story of the events. Mangelo would have never gotten out of the vehicle if it were not for the tax paper, which the ex-wife had told him about. King suggested if she had not told him, he never would have known about it.
Mangelo said he was being set up by his ex-wife, who at first told him about it then refused to give it to him.
"He said he told her 'you pay it then,'" King said, "and Darren (Ketchum) flew out the door."
King and his client claimed he tried to retreat to his vehicle, but it was Ketchum who was shoving him and trying to stop him from leaving. Mangelo also contended Ketchum had been drinking, which was confirmed by his sister and girlfriend, although in different amounts. However, Shulas testified he did not smell alcohol on Darren Ketchum when he came to investigate.
According to Mangelo and his daughter's testimony, Ketchum's facial injuries were probably caused by him falling in the driveway.
King reminded the jury that testimony by the Ketchums and Tracy Mangelo was very consistent when it came to him being hit, but was inconsistent when it came to how many beers Darren Ketchum may have drank or how much damage was done to items on the porch. He also questioned why Shulas only spoke to the Ketchums and Tracy Mangelo without getting Gerald Mangelo's side. He questioned why Shulas did not have available photos of the alleged damage on the porch and only spent 32 minutes at the house before deciding to file charges against Gerald Mangelo.
Payne questioned King's blame of law enforcement, noting the county sheriff's department is understaffed, but Shulas still took the time to get three statements.
Instead she said the story that makes sense is Mangelo's anger created the situation.
"It's that control, demanding-ness of Mr. Mangelo," she said. "He wanted the sheriff there. He wanted the paper."