A jury found a father whose 12-year-old son killed himself guilty Friday of four battery counts in connection with a fight last year with several Family Court bailiffs.
Geoffrey Wells, 36, faces a possible 3 1/2 years in jail for the three gross misdemeanor and one misdemeanor charges. He also could receive probation.
“He hates my guts,” said Wells’ former wife, Maria.
She was disappointed the jury opted to turn one felony count of battery by a prisoner into a misdemeanor.
As a felon, she said he would not have been allowed to keep any guns. Wells, who served as a Marine in the Gulf War and Somalia, currently owns 15 firearms.
She and Wells lost their son in 2005 after he shot himself with one of Wells’ firearms, which the court had previously ordered him to lock up.
Their two other children now live with Maria Wells full time.
A court surveillance video of the Dec. 12 hearing in Family Court depicts Wells talking back to the judge and then throwing punches after a bailiff tried to put him in handcuffs to restrain him.
“I don’t think your video is accurate,” Wells testified Thursday. “Your time frame could be manipulated.”
His defense attorneys argued the bailiff, Norm Adams, did not follow proper procedures when he began placing handcuffs on Wells.
“He didn’t have any legal authority to arrest him. No one had ordered him to do so,” said defense attorney Casey Landis. “In our country, people have the right to resist an unlawful arrest.”
The jury found him innocent of a fifth battery charge against one of the bailiffs.
“They thought he (the bailiff) might have been kicked or hit by someone else,” prosecutor Frank Ponticello said after speaking with jurors.
Wells was on probation at the time the courtroom fracas occurred for a child neglect charge stemming from the suicide of his son.
He faces a hearing in district court, where he could be ordered to serve out the remaining months of that gross misdemeanor sentence in prison.
“We’re looking forward to seeking probation and reuniting him with his children,” Landis said.