By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — Councilman Ray Muscat and his next-door neighbor Nicholas Diedo were charged with a felony and misdemeanor, respectively, in connection with a Dec. 8 altercation.
According to the Wayne County Prosector’s Office, Muscat faces one count of third-degree home invasion with a maximum of five years in prison. Diedo faces one count of trespassing with a maximum of 30 days in jail.
At his arraignment April 26 before Judge Sam Salamey in 19th District Court — instead of the 20th District Court because he serves as a councilman in Dearborn Heights — the court entered a not guilty plea on Muscat’s behalf. He was released on $1,000 cash bond, 10 percent and ordered to have no contact with anyone at Diedo’s address.
His next scheduled court appearance is a probable cause hearing at 9 a.m. May 3 in 19th District Court.
Dideo’s arraignment date has not been determined. He is facing federal charges for arson after he allegedly set fire to the 315 North Strip Mall in Inkster on Feb. 3. If convicted, he could face 20 years in federal prison.
Initial encounters between the pair began taking place last summer which caused Muscat to install a security surveillance system. In the past Diedo allegedly trashed and vandalized Muscat’s yard, in one instance spraying weed killer to produce slang words in the lawn, causing Muscat to replace some of the lawn, he told WXYZ Channel 7.
Muscat said went to Diedo’s house Dec. 8 to ask speak with him, and left with a bloody face.
“He opened the door, I had my hand on the storm door, I put my foot inside and the haymakers started,” Muscat told Channel 7. “I said to ‘come outside, I want to talk to you.’ I’m afraid for my wife to let the dog out on the side of the house now.”
As the encounter was taking place, Muscat’s wife, Lisa, was recording video on her cellphone when Diedo yelled obscenities and expletives at her. Lisa Muscat also can be heard saying, “What did he do to you? Oh, my God, Ray!” after seeing her husband’s bloody face.
Police told Channel 7 this was not the first encounter with Diedo, and other neighbors also have installed security surveillance systems.
Diedo spent two days in jail before being released on Dec. 10.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)