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Branford Man Charged with First Degree Assault; Victim in Serious Condition

Police have arrested and charged a Branford resident in relation to assault with blunt object that took place this morning.

Update: 5:44 p.m. Branford Police have charged Neil Amendola, 36, of 6 Patrick Lane with first degree assault after he was arrested this morning in relation to the bludgeoning of William Stewart, 58, of Branford who sustained blunt trauma to his head and body.

Police report that Stewart, a family friend of the Amendolas, had arrived at the Amendola home at 6 Patrick Lane this morning to fix a garage door, which was dented and half-open following the incident. When officers arrived on scene at 11:20 a.m. they found that Stewart had been assaulted with a blunt object – reports state the object was a baseball bat. Stewart was reportedly struck numerous times in the head and body. He was transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital for serious injuries, police said. 

Amendola was taken into custody, charged with first degree assault and is being held on a $500,000 bond.  The investigation is continuing.

This afternoon, family and friends gathered at Yale-New Haven Hospital awaiting word on the status of Stewart who was listed in serious condition.  According to Yale-New Haven Hospital, Stewart was in intensive care but a spokesperson would not release any more information pending sensitivity to the family of Stewart.

Stewart’s son, Ryan Stewart said, for the most part, he was in the dark about what had happened. “I don’t know what the whole situation is."

Branford Police Captain Kevin Halloran reported, "At this time we are uncertain as to why the assault occurred. We do know that Stewart is a family friend and went to Amendolas’ residence to fix the garage door."

Ryan Stewart said he did not know Neil Amendola but confirmed that the families were friends.

According to Halloran, William Stewart was a Branford Police Officer more than 20 years ago, but has not been a member of the force since.

Amendola's mother, Carol Amendola whose address is also 6 Patrick Lane was a third-grade schoolteacher at John B. Sliney School until she retired last year. Stewart's wife, Leslie Stewart, is presently a writing coordinator at John B. Sliney School.

Neil Amendola, who is an avid skier, graduated from Branford High School in 1993 and attended the University of Maryland College Park.

Through the afternoon about six police cars were in front of the residence at 6 Patrick Lane. The yard has been taped off with police caution tape, and the front door of the white house remains wide open. Neighbors were beginning to walk outside to see what was going on at the residence, which is located across from Francis Walsh Intermediate School.

Branford Patch will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.

Gary Jeanfaivre contributed to this story.

Linda March 12, 2011 at 11:35 PM
Bill Steward was one of the nicest guy in town. During the Summer, you would always see him out jogging around town and down by Branford Point. He would always stop to say hello to everyone on the dock. A very polite, pleasant man who absolutely did not deserve to have something like this happen to him.
Laura March 13, 2011 at 12:47 AM
Its very sad. They are a great family and don't deserve to have to deal with all of this! We wish Mr Stewart and his family well!
Mollie Lamb March 13, 2011 at 04:13 PM
I know Billy from his days on the Branford Police Force, always the nice guy!! My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family and I hope for a full recovery for Billy. He did not deserve this, nobody does. Reply
Jim Stewart March 14, 2011 at 01:16 PM
Just wanted to take a minute and say thank you. Bill is my uncle, and we are starting to hear encouraging things from the hospital. - Jim Stewart
Omar Itani March 15, 2011 at 02:54 PM
we are praying for you Bill!!! get well soon Omar
Mollie Lamb March 16, 2011 at 08:29 PM
Still praying for you Billy!
Tim Sweeney May 12, 2011 at 12:51 PM
Is the accused any relation to Buddy Amendola the football coach?
SolarPete June 09, 2011 at 01:37 PM
6 police cars wow that is half of Branfords force

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