Former mayor pro tem enters guilty plea in 'brutal' assault case

Former mayor pro tem enters guilty plea in 'brutal' assault case

MATTHEWS, NC (WBTV) - The former mayor pro tem of Matthews entered a guilty plea for assault on a female after he was arrested in July on the charges.

Joe Pata, who was a board commissioner for the Town of Matthews at the time of his arrest, entered the plea Tuesday morning.

In court, Pata's attorney said his client has faced his fair share of trials and stress like most recently leaving his post as mayor pro tem.

They asked the judge for a reduced punishment as part of the plea deal.

Instead of facing 75 days in jail, Pata will serve 18 months of supervised probation and has to complete 200 hours of community service, attend AA meetings and other courses, and most importantly, have no contact with the victim.

The victim spoke briefly in court before the judge ruled on the case.

She said Pata attacked her while she was asleep. She said the attack was "pretty brutal" and he threatened her life. She told the judge her life and her children's lives have turned upside down since the event.

According to investigators the event happened at Pata's home, along Reverdy Oaks Drive, on July 24 around 11:30 p.m.

After being called to the scene, officers reportedly found a woman who appeared to have been physically assaulted and injured. Court documents she the victim's nose was broken, her face swollen and there was a laceration on the back of her head.

Documents say the victim needed staples to close the cut on her head.

A witness at the home told police Pata tried to chase her outside to stop her from calling officers. He wasn't able to stop her and returned to the home where he punched the victim in the face again, bruising her right eye according to court paperwork.

Pata was then arrested for assault and booked in the Mecklenburg County Jail. He was placed under a $2,500 bond and placed on a 48 hour domestic violence hold.

Matthews Mayor Jim Taylor received a letter of resignation from Pata nearly a week later, hours before the Town Board was slated to hold a special meeting to discussion Pata's future. That meeting was canceled.

"I have enjoyed my service to the Town of Matthews over the past several years," Pata wrote in his resignation letter, obtained by WBTV. "I appreciate my fellow elected officials and our excellent staff. I want nothing but the very best for the Town and my fellow citizens."

"At this time, I need to focus my energies on my family," his letter continued. "If I cannot give one-hundred percent to my duties as a member of the Board of Commissioners, I must step down."

Court paperwork shows Pata has a prior assault conviction on his record from 1989. The judge also mentioned a DWI charge in 1995.

WBTV also learned the victim has filed a civil lawsuit against Pata.

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