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Man who allegedly disrupted graduation at JTHS has charges forwarded to court

Published June 30. 2011 05:01PM

A man who allegedly disrupted the Jim Thorpe Area High School graduation with an air horn had a hearing on various charges relative to the incident, yesterday.

Christopher R. Mazella, 24, of Mahoning Township, had all the charges forwarded to Carbon County Court. A pre-trial conference is scheduled on Aug. 11 at the court.

Originally Mazella was charged with resisting arrest and persistent disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors. At the request of his lawyer, Attorney Stephen Vlossak, the persistent disorderly conduct charge was changed to "making unreasonable noise."

The hearing was held before District Judge Edward Lewis of Jim Thorpe.

The only testimony during the hearing was from Detective Lee Marzen of the Jim Thorpe Police Department, who said he was at the graduation in the capacity of crowd control and security.

He said there was an announcement made that there should be no clapping or noise during the commencement.

Marzen said of Mazella, "He was standing up. He was blasting the air horn and it was just a toot. It was possibly five seconds."

The police officer said he approached Mazella with the intention of evicting him. Mazella told him, "It's my brother's ...... graduation," according to the testimony.

When Marzen walked down the stands with Mazella, the police officer said "he appeared to be showboating."

Marzen testified he took Mazella outside and other people followed. "There were a lot of people who were yelling and carrying on," he said, adding that two females, one on each side, were pulling the police officer's arms in an effort to have him let Mazella alone.

Someone was yelling "police brutality," said Marzen.

Because of the situation, Marzen said he immediately called for assistance for additional police officers on his police radio. At the scene, he was helped by an off-duty police officer, he said.

On cross examination by Attorney Vlossak, Marzen agreed his immediate intent was to evict Mazella. "If it would have been a toot and a clap, I would have asked him for the air horn," the police officer testified.

On the recommendation of Attorney Vlossak, Judge Lewis agreed to reduce the bail amount for Mazella from $3,000 straight to $3,000 unsecured.

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