Niagara Gazette

April 26, 2013

Casal attacker sentenced

By Rick Pfeiffer
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT -- His victim was a no show and Michael Vicki showed no remorse as he was sentenced to five years in prison for a vicious attack on Niagara Falls boxer Nick Casal on Friday.

His defense attorney said Vicki "wishes (the attack on Casal) had not happened and if he could take it all back, he would." Vicki, however, expressed regret only for what happened to him.

"I'd just like to appologize," Vicki said somewhat sullenly. "I'm really sorry this happened. I lost a lot. I lost five years (of my life). I lost my job. I lost my home."

Vicki, 30, of the Town of Niagara, had pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted first-degree assault for his attack on Casal. As First Assistant District Attorney Doreen Hoffmann reminded the judge, Casal suffered bleeding on his brain, several deep cuts to his skull, requiring almost 300 stitches to close, and has yet to be able to resume his professional boxing career.

Casal had been expected to be in court for the sentencing, but Hoffmann told Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas the boxer "couldn't make it."

Hoffmann also said Vicki had two prior felony convictions in federal court on drug and gun charges. He served a 2 1/2 year federal prison sentence on those charges. 

Farkas noted that Vicki had refused to speak with a county probation officer preparing a pre-sentence report in the case.

"I was disappointed (by his refusal)," Farkas said. "I want that to be known."

The judge also said the injuries Casal suffered were "just horrific."

In addition to the five-year prison term, Farkas also sentenced Vicki to three years of post-release supervision.

As part of his plea deal, Vicki also pleaded guilty to a charge of fifth-degree insurance fraud. That case stemmed from an incident in the Falls where Vicki was accused of threatening witnesses to a car crash.

Farkas sentenced Vicki to a one-year jail term for the insurance fraud conviction. That sentence will run concurrently with his assault sentence.

Casal was attacked as he went to leave Vicki's home on May 12 after being called there by a girl who was described as the boxer'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 had told investigators that Casal was the aggressor and he had no choice but to defend himself.

It was a theme his lawyer repeated before the sentencing.

"(Vicki) was home, minding his own business with a couple of lady friends," defense attorney James Faso said. "Mr. Casal chose to show up. Had he chose not to go to Mr. Vicki's home, where he had no business to be, we could not be here."

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.