BOARDMAN - The Jaguar Drive man accused of stabbing his wife and cutting his 2-year-old son was convicted for attempted murder 16 years ago.
John F. Sylvester Jr., 37, 7490 Jaguar Drive, will be arraigned at 8:30 a.m. today on first-degree felony attempted murder and second-degree felonious assault charges in Mahoning County Boardman Area Court.
Sylvester is being held in the Mahoning County Jail without bond, accused of cutting 30-year-old Howland resident Kelli M. Sylvester in the neck, shoulder and on both hands. He also is facing charges that accuse him of cutting his 2-year-old son's foot during the altercation.
Kelli Sylvester was taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center for treatment. A spokeswoman at the hospital said no one by that name was in the hospital Monday.
After the incident, John Sylvester then fled to the Market Street Bridge in Youngstown where police talked him down off the ledge. Police said he was attempting to commit suicide and that he didn't remember what happened earlier in the day.
John Sylvester, according to court records, was convicted in 1999 of attempted murder for shooting his ex-girlfriend and was sentenced to 10 to 28 years in prison. During the court case, records show, his attorney unsuccessfully tried to argue that Sylvester was not guilty by reason of insanity. The incident occurred almost exactly 16 years ago.
Reports said when officers arrived at one of John Sylvester's neighbor's home on Sunday, Kelli Sylvester and her son were covered in blood.
Several neighbors helped Kelli Sylvester, who witnesses said kept repeating, "My husband tried to kill me."
Kelli Sylvester, reports said, told police she and her husband were taking their son to see the Sesame Street Live! show at the Covelli Centre about 11:30 a.m. Sunday. The two, she said, argued because she refused to reconcile their relationship. Kelli Sylvester's mother told police her daughter and grandson were living with her in Howland.
Kelli Sylvester said her husband ambushed her from behind and cut her with a knife, then left in a red Dodge Charger.
Officers noted blood on the front screen door of John Sylvester's house, and in the foyer, kitchen floor and bathroom. They also found a knife next to a phone on the ground in the kitchen.
Witnesses said Kelli Sylvester, after being attacked, went to neighbor's homes seeking help. The neighbor called 911. A man said he was awakened when she knocked on his door then went and held the boy so Kelli Sylvester could call her mother. The man also said the boy was shaking and that he tried to calm him down. He said he and his wife gave the boy a change of clothes.
The boy's grandmother told police she noticed the boy had a cut on his right foot that he didn't have before. He was treated by emergency medical personnel.
Some officers were then sent to the Market Street Bridge to assist Youngstown police. There, John Sylvester stood on the ledge for three hours while police talked him out of jumping. Officers spotted Sylvester on the bridge and when they approached him, he got on the rail and threatened to jump. He remained there for about three hours until police talked him down.
John Sylvester was taken to Northside Medical Center where he was treated for physical injuries and spoke to mental health professionals before being released to Boardman police.
No charges have been filed against John Sylvester for the incident in Youngstown.
Sylvester was charged with attempted murder with a three-year sentencing enhancement for using a gun and stalking after a June 10, 1996, shooting in Boardman. His attorney filed a not guilty by insanity plea in front of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge Maureen Cronin. The plea was discredited by psychiatrists who examined Sylvester. He eventually pleaded guilty as charged and was sentenced to 7 to 25 years in prison for the charges and three additional years for using the gun.
Reports from current police Chief Jack Nichols, who at the time was a lieutenant, said Sylvester shot his ex-girlfriend, Nicole Pascarella, of Canfield, several times in the neck and head as she walked in the parking lot of 7410 West Boulevard.
Witnesses told police at the time that Sylvester was waiting for her in the parking lot when she walked out of the building. Sylvester asked to talk to Pascarella and the two went off by themselves. Witnesses said the two spoke briefly until they heard several gunshots.
Pascarella ran toward the witnesses, while Sylvester pointed a gun at one of Pascarella's friends.
He then left in a black 1991 Chevrolet Lumina. Police apprehended him six minutes later on the front porch of his parent's home, where the alleged attack on his wife occurred Sunday.