Dispute over spare change leads to ax attack

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A late-night brawl over spare change ended with a flesh wound and a hospital visit after one combatant wielded a medieval ax against his adversary, Frederick, Md., police said.

Andrew Scalera, 44, of Frederick was charged Monday with first- and second-degree assault and reckless endangerment after he used a “small, decorative, medieval-type ax” to slice the arm of another man so deeply that it chipped bone, said police spokesman Lt. Clark Pennington.

According to the statement of charges, at around midnight Sunday, Mr. Scalera and Nicholas Alexander Greenwell, an employee with Scalera’s Custom Painting, were in Mr. Scalera’s home in the 100 block of South Jefferson Street when the argument about missing spare change escalated into a punching match.

The incident was first reported by the Frederick News-Post.

According to court records, Mr. Greenwell had been completing work orders with another man at the house while Mr. Scalera was asleep on the floor.

Scalera awoke and began to accuse [Mr. Greenwell] of stealing quarters from his bedroom,” and then began to choke Mr. Greenwell, court papers said.

After the brief fight between the two men, Mr. Scalera ran into his bedroom and returned with an ax that was “shiny with a dark handle and approximately 18 to 24 inches in length,” and said, “I’ll kill you, I’m Italian and you know how I am,” court documents said.

The records said that Mr. Greenwell attempted to defend himself with a small can of pepper spray attached to his keychain while the third man and a woman who was also at the house during the scuffle attempted to stop Mr. Scalera.

Mr. Scalera and Mr. Greenwell attacked at the same time, but Mr. Greenwell took the brunt of the fight with a deep cut on his right forearm.

The fight moved outside, but not before Mr. Scalera broke a window with another swing of his ax.

The charging document stated that Mr. Scalera “then took the ax away, returned and attempted to apologize to [Mr. Greenwell],” who used a towel to stanch the blood, but decided to go to Frederick Memorial Hospital for treatment, where he was met by police.

An X-ray of the wound showed the ax had cut to the bone.

Police found the bloody towel and a freshly duct-taped door at Mr. Scalera’s residence, but court documents said the ax was not found.

The phone number listed on Mr. Scalera’s charging documents was for the painting company, for which a machine Wednesday answered calls.

Lt. Pennington said alcohol is thought to have been a factor in the incident, but the case is still under investigation. The police spokesman said there have been knife attacks in Frederick before, as well as machete attacks years ago, “but nothing to this caliber.”

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