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Junta brother faces assault charge

Arrest follows store incident

By Alice Gomstyn, Globe Correspondent, 3/1/2002

younger brother of Thomas Junta, the Reading truck driver convicted of the beating death of a father at a youth hockey practice, has been charged with assaulting a retail store employee with a cellular telephone he tried to return, authorities said yesterday.

James Junta, 42, of Quincy, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to a charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, the cellphone, in Quincy District Court and was released on $500 bail, said David Traub, spokesman for the Norfolk district attorney's office.

Traub said Junta became irate Tuesday when employees at a Best Buy store in Braintree refused to allow Junta to return the Panasonic phone without a receipt. According to court documents, Junta allegedly picked up the phone and flung it in the air, and it struck a store employee in the leg.

The court papers said that when a second store employee attempted to prevent Junta from leaving the store, he uttered an expletive and said, ''Get out of my way or I'll knock you out.''

Employees at the Best Buy store would not comment on the incident yesterday.

Junta was arrested by Braintree police as he was driving away from the store, Traub said.

Court records show Junta is currently on probation for assault and battery. He has also been convicted of attempted murder.

Junta did not return a call to his home yesterday. Mike Johnson, who answered the phone at Junta's home and identified himself as a friend, defended Junta, saying, ''It was a stupid thing he did, but he didn't hurt nobody.''

Thomas Junta, who has 12 siblings including younger brother James, is serving a 6- to 10-year prison sentence for the involuntary manslaughter of Michael Costin, who died after a fight with Junta following their sons' hockey practice in July 2000.

-- Anonymous, March 01, 2002


Hey man, no receipt, no return. I could have used my karate techniques.

-- Anonymous, March 02, 2002

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