Defendants Matthew DiPerna and William Moore were arrested three days after the June 18, 2012 incident, and Kevin Coyle was taken into custody a month later, after a joint investigation by village and Nassau County police. Officers arrested the final two defendants, William Nelson and Nolan Kelly, on Dec. 27 of that year. Some of the charges against the defendants were dismissed or reduced last August — the top charge of second-degree gang assault was dropped, and charges of first-degree assault were reduced to second degree. However, the charges of third-degree assault remained.
According to the defense, the main focus of the trial is whether the defendants assaulted the man on Roxen Road or were acting in self-defense. They allege that John Woythaler initiated a physical confrontation, grabbing one of the boys to demand that they apologize to his wife. John R. Lewis Jr., who serves as defense attorney for DiPerna, insists that the defendants were motivated only by self-protection.
“The reaction of the boys was to defend their friend,” he said.