Fourteen years after he was charged with assaulting a Florida police officer, deputy investigators from the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office arrested a fugitive last week in Asharoken — after finding the warrant during a routine training exercise.
The Manhasset attorney representing the man, identified in court records as William Segar, 56, of Asharoken, called the entire incident "a misunderstanding" that his client believed had been resolved years ago.
Segar, who court records show was remanded following an arraignment Saturday in First District Court in Central Islip, is scheduled to next appear in court April 28. He is facing extradition to Key West, facing seven outstanding charges, including: battery on a law enforcement officer, felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, felony resisting arrest, domestic battery, felony battery and property damage charges.
His attorney, Vincent Martin Lentini, said the arrest stemmed from an alleged 2006 "skirmish" between Segar, a girlfriend and a roommate and said his client "didn't have a weapon" and that "there was no weapon involved."
Lentini said Segar had retained a Florida attorney following the prior arrest, that he believed the assault case had been adjudicated and that his client was surprised to learn of the warrant when sheriff's office Warrant Bureau investigators knocked on his door April 16.
"My position is … my client is not a fugitive from justice, that he has appeared in the action through counsel in the Florida case … That without notification a warrant was issued, that my client was not aware that Florida had sent an extradition order."
Sheriff's office spokesman Sgt. Paul Spinella said Warrants Bureau investigators weren't acting on orders from Florida authorities but rather stumbled upon the warrant during training.
"One of the warrant officers was training another officer and said, 'This is what we do, this is how we find warrants,' and they saw this outstanding warrant and said, 'This one's someone from Suffolk. Let's see if we can find him,'" Spinella said.
He said the deputies then searched real estate records, finding Segar in Asharoken — and served the warrant. "It was really all just by accident that they found this," Spinella said.
In addition to the arrest of Segar on April 16, Warrant Bureau investigators also arrested Salvador Rivera, 23, of Yaphank, in an unrelated case.
That warrant was issued when Rivera, released on his own recognizance after being charged with second-degree assault on a Suffolk County police officer on April 9, failed to appear in court. Court records show Rivera was released again on his own recognizance following the warrant arrest.
He is represented by Legal Aid.
As for Segar, Lentini said he has petitioned the court for a bail hearing, so he can get his client released — with the intent of traveling with him to Florida to appear in Key West Criminal Court to get the pending matter resolved there.
"I'm more than happy to tell the court I'll travel with him to make sure we can get this resolved," Lentini said. "He really was surprised when the sheriffs knocked on his door. He had no idea about any of this. He thought it had been taken care of."