A man accused of attacking a Virginia store clerk with hammer, leaving him paralyzed, entered a plea Monday.
Bryan Pedroza was an 18-year-old clerk at the Polo store at Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets when he was attacked July 28, 2015.
Video shows Bradford Cellucci enter the store and walk around for about 20 minutes until Pedroza approaches and asks if he needs a fitting room.
News4's Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey has been covering this side of the state since joining NBC4 in 1992. She's joined by reporter Drew Wilder.
“He was opening up a fitting room door to allow this person he thought was just a customer to go into the fitting room, and the next thing he knew, he felt the pain in his neck and dropped to the ground,” Loudoun County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Shamis said.
Cellucci fled, leaving Virginia that night.
Investigators tracked him down in Texas in 2018.
Cellucci left the hammer in the store, and advanced forensic testing revealed his DNA was on the handle. Investigators also learned Pedroza had dated a woman Cellucci was seeing, and Cellucci planned the attack as an act of revenge on her behalf.
“He was an 18-year-old kid when this happened, and barring some miracle of modern medical science, he’s never going to walk again,” Shamis said. “He’s paralyzed; he’s been paralyzed since the day this happened.”
Cellucci entered an Alford plea — not admitting guilt but conceding the evidence is strong enough to convict him. Sentencing is scheduled for March 30. The charge of aggravated malicious wounding carries a penalty of 20 years to life.