Home Assault and Battery Marin DA’s office drops case in Novato family shooting

Marin DA’s office drops case in Novato family shooting

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William Bradley was charged with assault with a deadly weapon for the shooting of his stepson in Novato. (Robert Tong/Marin Independent Journal)

An 84-year-old Novato man who shot his stepson has been cleared of criminal charges, ending nearly five years of litigation.

The Marin County District Attorney’s Office dismissed its case against William Thomas Bradley, founder of the contracting company W. Bradley Electric, as it was about to head to trial.

The prosecution withdrew the case because Bradley’s legal team showed that the shooting was in self-defense, said Douglas Horngrad, an attorney for Bradley. Horngrad said Bradley never should have been charged.

“Bill Bradley was innocent,” he said. “Bill has been an upstanding member of this community for his whole life. With this dismissal, Bill gets his good name back.”

The shooting happened at about 2 a.m. Nov. 25, 2017, at Bradley’s home in western Novato. His son-in-law, Dean Paraskeva, was there on a holiday visit with his girlfriend.

Paraskeva told investigators that he and Bradley were up late talking in the living room after his mother and his girlfriend had gone to bed. Paraskeva said his stepfather left the room momentarily, returned with a gun and shot him for no apparent reason.

Paraskeva struggled with Bradley and subdued him by choking him. Paraskeva was treated at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Rafael.

Paraskeva initially said that Bradley used two guns, a shotgun and a handgun. The evidence later showed that the weapon was a .22-caliber revolver.

The prosecution charged Bradley with attempted murder and assault with a firearm causing great bodily injury. It dropped the attempted murder charge shortly before the preliminary hearing in 2018.

At the preliminary hearing, the defense challenged the accuracy of Paraskeva’s account. Horngrad said the evidence suggested the gunfire occurred in a bedroom, not the living room, and that investigators were misdirected from the shooting actual scene.

Horngrad also said tests at Kaiser showed Paraskeva to be extremely intoxicated, perhaps compromising his memory of what happened.

Judge Andrew Sweet said he was “not impressed with the DA’s case at all” but ordered Bradley to stand trial. He said the prosecution met the minimal evidentiary standard to proceed.

The trial was set for May 2020, but the onset of the coronavirus pandemic caused delays and backlogs in the courts. Bradley was free on bail while the case worked its way through court.

The prosecution finally dismissed the case last month, according to court records.

“Mr. Paraskeva strangled my client and chased him into his bedroom where his wife was asleep,” Horngrad said Thursday. “Bill shot him in self-defense, intending to stop him, never to kill him.”

District Attorney Lori Frugoli did not respond to requests for comment.

In 2019, Paraskeva filed a personal injury lawsuit against Bradley on claims of negligence, assault and battery. The lawsuit alleged the shooting caused Paraskeva pain, distress, permanent scarring and financial losses from medical bills and employment interruptions.

The lawsuit was resolved and dismissed early this year.

“Mr. Paraskeva vehemently disagrees with Mr. Bradley’s criminal defense lawyer’s description of the events. Mr. Paraskeva was the victim, not Mr. Bradley,” said Joseph Nicholson, a lawyer for Paraskeva.

“The civil lawsuit was resolved to Mr. Paraskeva’s satisfaction,” Nicholson said. “He would like to move on with his life and thus has no further comment.”

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