Charges lessened in baseball bat melee

Photo by Brian Giandelone

Photo by Brian Giandelone

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Two Gwinnett teens charged with trying to settle a squabble over drugs with a baseball bat caught a break Tuesday when a judge lessened their armed robbery charges, sparing them a mandatory 10 years if convicted.

Chad Spence and Blaine Filakosky, both 17, were arrested in a June 19 melee at a teen party on The Esplanade Way in Loganville. Alleged victims told police the teens, angered about money and drugs stolen from them, threatened to "put 30 bullets in (the) house," Gwinnett police Officer J.A. Hensley testified in a probable cause hearing for both teens.

Spence, armed with a baseball bat, joined Filakosky in taking two cell phones from revelers as payment. When police arrived, half the party -- about 10 teens -- bolted, and the alleged robbers were taken into custody, Hensley testified. No one reported injuries.

The teens faced four felony counts, including two counts each of armed robbery. Magistrate Court Judge Gene Cantrell lessened the latter counts to robbery by intimidation, after defense attorneys successfully argued the bat wasn't offensively used to take the phones.

Cantrell granted Filakosky, a Grayson High School senior, a $25,000 bond, which the state agreed to.

Spence wasn't so fortunate.

At the time of the incident, Spence had bonded out of Gwinnett County Jail on another aggravated assault case. Thus, statute requires that argument for his bond must be heard in Superior Court.