Nassau D.A. files 14-count indictment against DeMartino

Oceanside man released from custody after investigation into text threats

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Brian DeMartino, a former dog trainer in Oceanside who is being investigated for alleged animal abuse, was arraigned on May 11 at Nassau County District Court in Hempstead after allegedly violating an order of protection against his girlfriend by sending her threatening text messages. Judge Eileen Goggin set DeMartino’s bail at $100,000 bond — $80,000 in cash.

But DeMartino’s Garden City-based attorney, Adrian DiLuzio, and Jed Painter, of the Nassau County district attorney’s animal crimes unit — in light of new information — appeared at Nassau County Court on Tuesday to request revision of his bail before Judge Meryl Berkowitz, who ordered DeMartino’s release.

The Nassau County district attorney charged DeMartino, 45, on May 4 with various counts of criminal contempt and five counts of third-degree assault, among other crimes, as part of a 14-count indictment that combines previous cases. He faces up to 2 1/3 to seven years in prison, according to Brendan Brosh, spokesman for the D.A.’s office.

Following the release of the indictment, DeMartino was first arraigned before Berkowitz on May 8 after turning himself in to authorities the day before, but was let go after his mother posted $5,000 cash bail, DiLuzio said. DeMartino then landed in district court in Hempstead a few days later for his second arraignment of the week after allegedly sending his girlfriend what Goggin called “disturbing” texts just hours after his release.

But after the district attorney’s investigation into the series of threatening messages that DeMartino’s girlfriend claimed he had sent her, Painter said in court Tuesday that the texts — sent through a messaging app — did not appear to come from DeMartino’s phone. The IP address, from which the texts were sent, originated in Pennsylvania, where DeMartino’s girlfriend resides, Painter added, and the email addresses connected to the app accounts appear to be linked to her, according to a report the D.A. received on Monday.

Painter said the district attorney’s office is not ready to dismiss the case, but acknowledged that DeMartino should not be in jail as the investigation continues. Berkowitz agreed.

“There will be a lot of investigation to be had,” Painter said in court. “There’s a lot to look into.”

At the May 11 arraignment, Assistant District Attorney Erin Satterthwaite had told Goggin that DeMartino was “clearly unable to follow court orders,” and cited his previous “outbursts” in front of Berkowitz when he first saw screenshots of the text messages that his girlfriend claimed he had sent her.

“To say that because he spoke up in his defense because he was surprised by the charges, and that’s why he couldn’t control himself for five hours and start harassing her again, that’s like saying I wake up, the sun comes up, therefore I make the sun come up,” DiLuzio said after the arraignment, noting, however, that he did not approve of his client’s loud denial of sending the texts. “They’re associated, yes, however, one’s not predictive of the other, or causative of the other.”

Screenshots of the conversation show a series of messages on one side of the screen, DiLuzio said, which all appear to have originated from the same phone. DeMartino had claimed that his girlfriend sent the messages to herself, he added, and his client turned his phone over to authorities.

“He’s saying to me, ‘Give them my phone, give them my backup, and they’ll see if they decode everything and look for everything, and they ask me questions, I’ll be able to answer them and they’ll be able to see that really it’s all her,’” DiLuzio said of DeMartino.

“The D.A.’s office said, ‘We’ll look into that,’ and to their credit they did,” DiLuzio said after Berkowitz ordered his client’s release.

Despite DeMartino’s release, all charges remain part of the indictment at this time.

Previous alleged incidents included in the indictment

DeMartino was arrested on April 20 and charged with aggravated harassment after allegedly sending threatening texts to Tommy Marrone, an Oceanside resident and former NYPD detective who posted footage on Facebook in December — sent to him by DeMartino’s girlfriend — of the dog trainer jabbing a caged pit bull with a stick. DeMartino was released without bail, and Marrone received an order of protection.

The animal abuse allegations, alleged to have occurred at DeMartino's former business, NY Dog Works, on Louis Place in Oceanside, are still being investigated. He is no longer training dogs, DiLuzio said.

According to court documents, one text from DeMartino to Marrone stated, “You have no idea what’s coming to you for what you have done. I will spend the rest of my life taking you down in ways that you could not imagine. Watch your back you disgusting piece of [expletive].” DeMartino also told Marrone on the phone, “...Now I am going to kill you,” the complaint stated.

DiLuzio told the Herald last month it was unfortunate that his client sent the text messages, but he added that they did not necessarily show criminal intent.

Charges on the recent indictment include the two counts of aggravated harassment for contacting Marrone on April 5, as well as various criminal contempt charges for allegedly sending threatening texts to his girlfriend after his release without bail later that month, which targeted her and Marrone’s family, according to the D.A.’s office. Her order of protection against DeMartino had been granted in October.

Five counts of third-degree assault, as well as two counts of criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation also included in the indictment point to what DiLuzio called a “checkered” past between DeMartino and his girlfriend. According to a complaint filed in First District Court in October, DeMartino struck her in the face with his fist at his Louis Place home in Oceanside. That same night, he allegedly applied pressure to her neck and blocked her mouth in an attempt to prevent her from breathing.

DeMartino has said he has previously acted in self-defense, DiLuzio explained, and has claimed that his girlfriend has also faked injuries.

“What we do know is, we’ve got two people, who it appears are mutually troubled,” DiLuzio said. “They were in a relationship that wasn’t great … They were clearly hurting each other in emotional ways, maybe even occasionally physical ways.”

The next court date is scheduled for June 7.

“I don’t know; I’m just a lawyer,” DiLuzio said of the charges. “If we have a trial, my guy will testify, [his girlfriend] will testify… and a jury or a judge will decide. Thank God not me, because it’s very difficult to get to the bottom of things like this.”

Editor’s Note: The Herald went to print with a different version of this story on Monday. This online version includes updated material based on a court appearance on Tuesday by Brian DeMartino’s lawyer, Adrian DiLuzio, and Jed Painter, of the Nassau County district attorney’s animal crimes unit.