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Man Sentenced to 3 to 8 Years for Assaulting Bensalem Officer

February 1, 2018

Contact: Rose E. McHugh, 215.348.6317, remchugh@buckscounty.org

Robert McFadden
     Robert McFadden

A young man who strangled and tried to disarm a Bensalem police officer was sentenced last week in Bucks County Common Pleas Court to serve three to eight years in state prison.

Robert McFadden, 25, of Trenton, whose parents work in law enforcement in New Jersey, said Friday that he was at a loss to explain his behavior.

“It was a moment of confusion for me,” he said of the July 29 assault on Officer David Marshall. “It was something not in my character. I was surprised by my own behavior.”

McFadden had been stealing items from vehicles in thw 1300 block of Neshaminy Avenue when Marshall arrived around 9 a.m. The officer found McFadden and a female accomplice sitting in an SUV parked in a no-parking zone.

When Marshall ordered McFadden out of the vehicle and tried to handcuff him, McFadden attacked, throwing Marshall to the ground. As the men struggled, McFadden struck the officer several times in the head, choked him until he began to lose consciousness and tried to grab Marshall’s gun.

Marshall finally freed himself and arrested the suspects as backup officers arrived. He suffered cuts on his hands, legs, knees, neck and face, and had strangulation marks on his neck, said Assistant District Attorney Rose E. McHugh, who prosecuted the case.

During a search of the vehicle, drugs including heroin and fentanyl were found inside the SUV.

Bucks County President Judge Jeffrey L. Finley accepted a plea agreement in which McFadden pleaded guilty to crimes including aggravated assault, possession with intent to deliver heroin, disarming a law enforcement officer and theft from a motor vehicle in return for the negotiated sentence.

McFadden also was ordered to pay $5,009.36 in restitution for Marshall’s medical expenses.

Defense attorney Sara Webster presented evidence that McFadden suffered a fractured skull, brain injuries and a severe personality change four years ago after falling from a balcony while living in North Carolina. A high school athlete who worked as a fiber-optic technician, McFadden was put on leave from his job and began experiencing seizures, mood swings and combative, aggressive behavior.

“I wasn’t the same person,” McFadden told Finley, adding that he became addicted to opioids after being prescribed Percocet for back injuries suffered in the 2013 fall.

“I cannot use my intoxication as an excuse for my behavior,” McFadden told Finley, but “in the right state of mind, I do not think I would have acted out the way that I did.”

McFadden submitted a handwritten letter of apology to Marshall that he read in court.

“I have much respect for people who put their lives on the line to serve and protect because I have parents and other family members in law enforcement. I don’t know how I would feel if something were to happen to one of them if they got put in a bad situation,” the letter said.

“I hope that you can look past this thoughtless act and forgive me,” the letter concluded. “With your forgiveness I feel as though I can move on in my treatment and continue to advance with my future life.”

The case was investigated by the Bensalem Township Police Department.

Office of the District Attorney
Bucks County Justice Center
100 N. Main Street
Doylestown, PA 18901 
Phone: 215-348-6344 
Fax: 215-348-6299

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