Police: City Man Charged After Beating Woman With Weight Plate

November 28, 2018

Just three weeks after Heather Zaleski dropped a protection from abuse order against him, Stephen Getz invited her to help him decorate his Hill Section apartment for Christmas.

Getz wanted the apartment at 919 Clay Ave. to look ready for the holidays when his daughter visited, police said.

Zaleski agreed to help her friend, she told police. They argued after she arrived Tuesday afternoon and things turned ugly.

Getz beat Zaleski with a weight as she tried to leave, tied her up, fled the apartment and called his mom to rescue her, police said. Hours later, he arrived at a downtown parking garage and threatened to jump before police subdued him.

An ambulance drove Zaleski, 33, to a hospital, but efforts to determine her condition Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Police charged Getz, 35, with aggravated and simple assault and illegally restraining Zaleski, according to an arrest affidavit.

A 911 call from Getz’s mother at 4:24 p.m. brought police to the scene.

An argument about Zaleski’s custody of her children sparked the incident, according to the affidavit. She decided to leave and began putting on her coat.

“Getz pushed her to the ground and began hitting her over and over again with a weightlifting plate,” Patrolman Christian Gowarty wrote in an arrest affidavit.

Zaleski tried to fight him off, she told police. As she fell in and out of consciousness, she remembered thinking she was going to die, according to the arrest affidavit.

Before he fled, Getz bound Zaleski’s hand and feet and taped her mouth shut.

“Getz then called his mother, ... telling her to come to the house immediately and bring an ambulance because he had hurt Heather really bad,” Gwoarty wrote in the affidavit. “When (his mother) arrived, she ... called police.”

Police began searching for Getz. Police Chief Carl Graziano said they traced his cell phone to the Casey Parking Garage at Lackawanna and Adams avenues.

They found Getz on an upper level threatening to jump off. Officers swarmed him and pulled him away from the edge.

Zaleski filed for protection from abuse order against Getz on Aug. 2 in Lackawanna County Court. Her application for the order explaining why she applied is sealed from public viewing, according to court records. Senior Judge Chester Harhut issued an order instructing Getz to stay away from Zaleski’s workplace and the city apartment where she lives with her husband and daughter.

After a hearing Nov. 7, the order was dismissed at Zaleski’s request, according to a copy of the dismissal order.

Magisterial District Judge Paul Keeler, who arraigned Getz, set his bail at $535,000 cash and scheduled a preliminary hearing for next Wednesday at 12:15 p.m.

Graziano said Getz underwent a mental health evaluation at Geisinger Community Medical Center. The hospital released him. Unable to post bail, he was jailed at the Lackawanna County Prison where he remained Wednesday, a prison staff member said.

Contact the writer: bkrawczeniuk@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9147; @BorysBlogTT on Twitter.

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