Niagara Gazette

January 7, 2013

Casal case ends in plea

By Rick Pfeiffer
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — A Town of Niagara man, accused, of seriously injuring Falls boxer Nick Casal and threatening witnesses in an insurance fraud case, has cut a deal with prosecutors.

Michael Vicki, 30, pleaded guilty to charges of attempted first-degree assault and fifth-degree insurance fraud. Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas agreed to cap his possible prison term at five years when he is sentenced on April 5. 

Vicki had faced charges of first-degree assault and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon in connection with a vicious attack on Casal in May. He was also charged in an unrelated case involving insurance fraud.

First Assistant District Attorney Doreen Hoffmann told Farkas that Casal suffered brain bruising and "a brain bleed" as a result of the attack. She said that while Casal's injuries have healed, he has not been able to resume his boxing career.

Casal’s father, Ray, previously said his son was attacked as he went to leave Vicki's home on May 12. The elder Casal said Vicki is the ex-boyfriend of his son's girlfriend.

Police said Casal was hit several times by an unknown object and knocked to the ground. Investigators said evidence at Vicki’s home indicated that Casal lost a significant amount of blood.

No weapon was ever recovered in the case and Vicki told investigators he didn't remember what he hit Casal with. Vicki said he and Casal had an altercation after the boxer came to his home.

Vicki had told investigators that Casal was the aggressor and he had no choice but to defend himself. 

In addition to deep gashes on his head, Casal suffered a chipped tooth and a severely swollen, but not broken, arm. Reports indicated that Casal was struck 15 times in the head and body.

The insurance fraud case stemmed from an incident in the Falls involving a traffic accident.

Prosecutors said Vicki was driving on Frontier Avenue when he lost control of his car, missed hitting a man, woman and child, but then slammed into a tree. According to the witnesses, Vicki then ran from the crash scene.

Vicki reported his car stolen to police and filed an insurance claim for the damage to the vehicle.

Farkas had issued an order of protection barring Vicki from any contact with the witnesses in the case. Prosecutors said Vicki had attempted to get the witnesses to "back off" on testifying against him.

mug - NIA Vicki mug 010813 Michael Vicki Takes plea