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Police: Bad News About Crash Victim Led To Family Fight, Father's Arrest

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Published:   |   Updated: March 26, 2013 at 07:38 PM

ST. PETERSBURG - A brawl that broke out among members of the Graziano family last week at Bayfront Medical Center came after the family received news that John Graziano's prognosis had worsened significantly, according to St. Petersburg police reports released today.

Graziano, a 22-year-old Iraq veteran, has been in critical condition since Aug. 26, when he was riding in a Toyota Supra wrecked by Nick Bollea, the 17-year-old son of famed wrestler Hulk Hogan.

At different turns, family members, friends and acquaintances have said he possibly suffered brain damage, was getting better or has been unresponsive since the wreck. He is said to be in a medically-induced coma.

Also today, Bollea's attorney J. Kevin Hayslett entered a not-guilty plea on Bollea's behalf in regard to a speeding ticket Bollea received 16 days before the wreck. Speed also has been cited as a factor in the wreck that injured Graziano.

At Bayfront on Thursday, the family received "bad news" concerning Graziano's condition. His 19-year-old brother, Michael, "took it really hard," Graziano's sister, Christin Carson, 24, told a police officer.

"Christin stated that Michael was crying for hours and developed a headache," the report says. "According to Christin, Michael finally fell asleep on the floor."

Later, Edward Graziano, the young men's father, entered the room where the family had congregated and very loudly ordered Michael Graziano to fix his computer, the report says. Carson said she told her father to lower his voice.

Edward Graziano responded by yelling, "You guys never respect me," the report says. After a few more words were exchanged, Edward Graziano walked out, making a crude gesture on the way, but he returned 45 minutes later and again told Michael Graziano to get up.

At that point, Carson's husband and Edward Graziano exchanged words, and Michael got up, Carson told police. Michael Graziano told his father to leave. Carson told him to leave, too, and started pushing him out the door as Michael Graziano began yelling at him, the police report says.

Soon Carson's husband and Michael Graziano were trying to pull Edward Graziano off his daughter, the report says. Edward Graziano then went to a conference table, took a cold cup of coffee, and threw it at Michael Graziano's face, the report says. Then the three of them - Carson, Carson's husband and Michael Graziano - got Edward Graziano out of the room and locked the door.

Neither Michael Graziano nor Carson wanted their father prosecuted.

On Friday, he returned to the hospital, but by then his wife, Debra, had renewed a restraining order against him, St. Petersburg police spokesman Bill Proffitt said. He was arrested on a charge of violating the order because he went in a waiting room where she was, in violation of the injunction.

Graziano is being held without bail at the Pinellas County Jail. In addition to violating the domestic injunction, he faces previous charges of tampering with a state witness and battery on a law enforcement officer.


Reporter Stephen Thompson can be reached at (727) 451-2336 or spthompson@tampatrib.com.

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