Saturday, November 9, 2013

Brooklyn man held in kidnapping, assault case

Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2013

When Brittany Buckner first spoke to police about an alleged assault and kidnapping by her boyfriend, she claimed that he repeatedly threatened to kill her during the drive from Bensalem to Brooklyn.
On the witness stand Wednesday, though, the 23-year-old woman claimed that Phillip John Lupo Jr., 27, of Brooklyn, never threatened her, though he did break her nose, chip her teeth and “rough her up” in a Bensalem hotel lobby.
Before her testimony began, Buckner acknowledged that she did not want to appear in court and she showed up only because the Bucks County District Attorney had issued a subpoena for her appearance.
She testified that she and Lupo, who live together, visited Bensalem on July 29 so he could gamble at Parx casino. While he was at the casino, she hung out at the hotel pool.
When Lupo arrived at the hotel later that night, the two got into a verbal argument at the pool, Buckner testified. The argument continued into the hotel lobby where it got physical, she said.
Witnesses and employees told Bensalem police that Lupo threw Buckner into a chair in the lobby, then punched her “numerous times” in the face and head. Buckner testified that Lupo punched her in the face breaking her nose and breaking open her lip.
“There was blood everywhere,” she said. “I’m not sure how many times he hit me but I was roughed up.”
When prosecutor Vaughn asked if Lupo said anything to her during the attack, Buckner said she couldn’t remember. “I was trying to protect myself,” she said.
At one point, Buckner said she was on the lobby floor where Lupo continued to hit her.
After striking her, Lupo took her car keys and ran out to the parking lot, she said. Not wanting to be stuck in Bensalem, Buckner said she ran after him, got in the car and they went home to Brooklyn.
When they arrived at their apartment, she testified that Lupo got out of the car, and she drove to her cousin’s house, then to the hospital where she was treated for her injuries.
During the trip to New York, Buckner said that Lupo was driving recklessly, which scared her. But he did not threaten to hurt her, though he threatened to kill himself, she said.
Buckner’s version of events Wednesday is different than what she initially told Bensalem police about the incident.  
Hotel surveillance video shown in court that captured part of the altercation depicted Buckner running away from a man – who she testified is Lupo – before he tackled her, then dragged and threw her into a running car before driving away.
Bensalem police also allege that Buckner claimed during the ride to New York that Lupo repeatedly threatened to kill her, at one point telling her that he wasn’t going back to jail and he’d kill her before he let that happen, according to court records.
He also told Buckner that he would tie her up, shoot her, chop up and bury her body, police said.
Hotel employee Ryan Smith testified that he witnessed Lupo hit Buckner, grab her by the hair and throw her into the backseat of the car.
“She was screaming, ‘Help me,’” Smith said, adding he ran after the car and got its license plate number.
Following testimony, Bensalem District Judge Joseph Falcone held Lupo for trial on all charges including kidnapping, aggravated assault and terrorist threats. Lupo remains in Bucks County prison in lieu of 10 percent of $100,000 bail.

Lupo also has an open criminal case in Marlboro, N.J. where he is charged with simple assault and abuse of an animal, according to a New Jersey court official. In March he allegedly choked and threw against a wall an 8-pound Shih Tzu-Maltese mix named Louie during an altercation, according to published reports.
Jo Ciavaglia: 215-949-4181; email: jciavaglia@calkins.com; Twitter: @jociavaglia

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