07-11-2004, 11:23 AM #1Former Member
- Join Date
- Aug 2003
- In heels
Swastika could have been a smile face ~ men charged in hate crime
It may have been a crime of stupidity, rather than hatred.
Law enforcement sources said yesterday that two men charged with defacing an Eltingville street had debated whether to burn a swastika or a smiley face into the pavement.
Their choice got them arrested.
Jeremiah Logan poured gasoline onto the street in the shape of a Nazi symbol early Monday morning and Joseph Pucciarelli lit the match, scorching the intersection of Pompey and Petrus avenues, court papers charge.
Pucciarelli, 24, of Eltingville, posted $2,500 bail and walked out of Staten Island Criminal Court yesterday afternoon, following his arraignment alongside Logan, 23, of Annadale.
Logan remained in custody after $5,000 bail was set by Judge James Burke.
Neither defendant is accused of a hate crime.
The two men allegedly confessed to detectives that they left the swastika in the predominantly Italian-American neighborhood.
However, Pucciarelli's attorney said his client wasn't at the scene when the symbol was burned into the street.
Asked if he was involved, Pucciarelli answered with a simple "No" as he walked out of the courthouse to a waiting vehicle.
According to court documents, Pucciarelli and Logan admitted to a Staten Island Hate Crimes Task Force detective that they burned the 20-by-20-foot swastika into the street at about 2:15 a.m. Monday.