A former NFL lineman and sports talk radio host has been arrested and charged after allegedly assaulting his son and choking his son’s boyfriend, according to court documents.
Former Indianapolis Colts lineman Joseph Staysniak, 56, was arrested last Tuesday on strangulation and battery charges stemming from what police characterized as a “delayed domestic” disturbance at the former radio talk show host’s home in Brownsburg, Indiana.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Staysniak’s son told authorities that a neighbor saw him sitting with his boyfriend in a car in front of Staysniak’s home last Monday evening. That neighbor informed Staysniak, who allegedly approached the car, opened the rear passenger door, and grabbed the boyfriend by the hood of his sweatshirt before choking him.
Staysniak’s son allegedly told deputies from the Hendricks County Sheriff’s Department that his father punched him and caused his lip to bleed. Officers on the scene noted that the son’s face was stained with dried blood and that the young man had sustained cuts on his lower lip, reports NBC News.
Staysniak’s son claimed his father displayed a firearm and told him and the boyfriend “that they’re lucky he saw who it was,” according to the affidavit.
The boyfriend told deputies that Staysniak had “flashed a gun” and “had it against the side of his face at one point during the incident.”
Staysniak told sheriff’s deputies that his neighbor had called him to report a suspicious car in their front yard, prompting him to investigate, gun in hand, to confront a potential threat.
When he approached the car, he saw who was inside and told his son’s boyfriend that he could never return to his property.
Staysniak denied hitting the boyfriend and said that his son “came after him.” He said he shoved his son with an “open hand,” and that his son began to bleed at the mouth. He said that he and his son “got into it” and that “he tried to attack him,” according to the affidavit.
Staysniak further claimed he had to physically restrain his son and that his wife had to separate the two men. He said he “did have his handgun on him” but “denied touching [the boyfriend] with it or pointing it at any person,” according to the affidavit.
Staysniak was ultimately arrested and charged in Hendricks County Court with strangulation and two counts of battery resulting in bodily injury.
He appeared virtually, via video conference, for an initial hearing on Tuesday, pleading not guilty to the charges against him. He was released on his own recognizance later that day, placed on enhanced supervision, and ordered to have no contact with his son or his son’s boyfriend.
He is next scheduled to appear in court on April 10 for a pretrial conference, with a jury trial scheduled to begin on April 25.
Guy Relford, Staysniak’s attorney, told NBC News that the charges do not include domestic battery or any violations with a firearm, which was ultimately secured by deputies who responded to the scene.
He cast his client’s actions as reasonable and justified within the context of the circumstances leading up to the altercation.
“The situation arose when a neighbor contacted Joe at a late hour to report two suspicious vehicles parked in the woods near the Staysniak home and Joe went to investigate. He discovered his adult son and a friend in one of the vehicles,” Relford said. “The details of what then transpired will come out in the courtroom, but we are completely confident that Joe’s actions will be conclusively determined to be legal and justified under the circumstances.”
He added that his client has never before been accused of a crime and is a “long-standing pillar of the Central Indiana and Hendricks County communities.”
Staysniak was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the seventh round of the 1990 draft after a college career at Ohio State University, later becoming a member of the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs before settling in Indianapolis, where he played for the Colts from 1992 to 1995.
He later briefly played for the Arizona Cardinals in 1996 before retiring from football.
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