WESTBOROUGH, Mass. - Steven K. Woskie, the Grafton man arrested in January and charged with assault and battery and possessing ten firearms - including an AK-47 without a license - appeared in court Thursday for a pretrial conference.
Woskie, who posted bail, appeared with his attorney, Anthony M. Salerno of the Salerno Law Group. Under the conditions of his release, Woskie had to wear a GPS bracelet, stay within his home, obey a restraining order, surrender all firearms to Grafton police, and remain drug- and alcohol-free. Salerno asked that the conditions of his bail be relaxed so Woskie can work as a self-employed carpenter.
Since Woskie had not violated his bail agreement, Judge Michael Fabbri granted him, under strict court supervision, the leeway to work outside his home eight hours per day, five days a week.
Woskie’s legal trouble began Jan. 27, when Grafton police said they received a tip from Woskie's son, Jakob, who, reportedly was the victim of an unprovoked attack earlier that evening when he tried to enter his father’s Follete Street house. According to police, the suspect first wielded a bat, dropped it, then hit his son with a claw hammer.
According to the report, police received information about unsecured and possibly stolen weapons at the Follette Street address. Grafton police said a records check indicated Woskie did not have a license to possess weapons or ammunition.
Grafton police, with the assistance of a Central Mass. Law Enforcement Council SWAT unit, entered Woskie’s home with a search warrant and arrested him.
He was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, domestic aggravated assault and battery, possession of an assault weapon, three counts of possession of large-capacity feeding devices, seven counts of possession of firearms/rifle/shotgun without a license, seven counts of improper storage of firearms/rifle/shotgun, improper storage of a large-capacity firearm/rifle, and possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card.
But Salerno said, in an interview outside the courthouse, that the alleged attack by Woskie on his son was not unprovoked, and contrary to police reports, not a one-sided story. “This is a father-son dispute that escalated into a fight. As a result, we’re here,” Salerno said. “We intend to present a very strong self-defense.”
Salerno said the biggest issue with this case is timing. “Prior to the Connecticut tragedy, I don’t think this sensitivity would be the norm,” he said. “There is no issue with this case that a firearm was ever used or threatened to be used. They have been in his house for years. They have never been used for anything illegally.”
Salerno added, “The issue is whether or not he had the proper license for high-capacity weapons. That’s what it will come down to, and it will be contested.”
Woskie will return to Westborough District Court on April 12 for a preliminary hearing on the status of the evidence, and to determine if the case will be brought to a grand jury and ultimately to Superior Court.