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Cops: 3rd arrest in Rockville Centre attack

A third teenager was arrested in conjunction with the June 18 beating of a Rockville Centre man, who had demanded a group of drunken high school students apologize for accosting his wife, Nassau County police said Friday.

Kevin J. Coyle, 18, of 4 Woodgreen Pl., was arrested Friday and charged with second-degree gang assault, police said. Coyle, a recent graduate of South Side High School, was scheduled to be arraigned Friday at First District Court in Hempstead.

Already apprehended and charged in connection with the beating were William Moore, of 4 Broadway, and Matthew Diperna, of Hempstead Avenue. At the time of their arrests both were 18 and students at South Side, from which they have since graduated. Moore was arrested June 20, and Diperna, June 21, police said.

Diperna was released on his own recognizance and his due to return to court July 20. Moore is out on $2,500 bail, and is also due to return to court July 20.

Last month's incident began when a woman, 41, out walking her dog was accosted on Roxen Road between North Village and Hempstead avenues by a group of as many as eight apparently intoxicated teenagers, who threatened or catcalled her, police said.

"It frightened her, whatever they were doing," Rockville Centre Lt. James Vafeades said.

The woman rushed home and told her husband, 43, who went looking for the teens to ask them to apologize to her, police said.

The couple located them within a few blocks. When the husband asked for the apology, the situation escalated, Vafeades said, and at about 11:30 p.m. the beating began.

"They had him on the ground. They're throwing beer cans at him, they kicked him," Vafeades said.

Court records show the man was hit in the face, head and body.

The alleged attack happened in two parts: After the initial beating, Moore approached the victim and struck the man in the head, causing the victim to fall into a planter and then onto the sidewalk, where "he laid motionless for a period of time before struggling to get up," according to a summary of a witness account in court records.

The victim was treated at Mercy Medical Center for facial trauma, swelling to the jaw and other injuries and released the next morning, police said. He had a fractured rib and needed 15 stitches to his lip, police said.

Moore and Diperna were found because witnesses either knew their names or identified them from photos, police said.

Diperna's attorney, John R. Lewis Jr., said his client wasn't involved in making the comments to the woman, and that the accuser "threw the first punch" and the other teens were defending themselves.

"He's a vigilante," Lewis said. "He tracked down the boys and started the altercation."

Asked about Lewis' version of events, Vafeades said investigators have no evidence that the victim began the physical fight.

With Nathaniel Herz

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