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.