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Friday, October 19, 2007

[MA] Officer Sideris who beat his mother wants to clear his name

Sideris demands trial, against lawyer's advice
The Salem News
By Julie Manganis
October 19, 2007
A visibly distraught George Sideris pleaded yesterday with a Salem Superior Court judge to schedule his trial on charges that he beat his elderly mother unconscious nearly three years ago, despite a finding by psychiatrists that he is not competent to stand trial. "They took my name, they took my freedom, they took my mother, they've taken everything from me," Sideris, a suspended Peabody police officer, told Judge Howard Whitehead during a status hearing in his case yesterday. "They're not going to take my self-respect. I'm not taking a plea." Sideris, who appeared to be choking back tears, told the judge that he intends to sue the doctors who determined last summer that he is not competent to stand trial. And he asked Whitehead to appoint a lawyer to replace his current attorney, Steven Rappaport, who also believes Sideris is incompetent at this point... Sideris, 35, is charged with attacking his elderly mother, Melpomeni Sideris, on Thanksgiving Day 2004. Shortly after the incident, he confessed to his priest and then to police... He has said he intends to prove at trial that the priest and the police lied about his confessions... It will be up to a judge to review the evaluations and then determine whether Sideris is competent. At that point, if he is found competent, his trial will be scheduled. If not, the case will remain open but on hold until he is determined to be competent. He remains free, because he has not been deemed a danger to himself or others. His mother, who spent several weeks in a coma, eventually regained consciousness but never returned to the home they once shared. She is now 76...

Info from 2004 & 2005 news reports:
Suspended Peabody police officer George Sideris blamed job stress for a series of assaults on his elderly mother Melpomeni Sideris, the last of which, on Thanksgiving 2004, left her in a coma for several weeks. When Sideris called 911 he told the dispatcher his mom was too weak to talk, that he gave her a banana for potassium because she didn't look like she felt well, and now he thinks maybe she choked on it and has an airway obstruction. But police and paramedics found his mother "bruised and battered." Sideris told them that she fell earlier in the week. Afterwards, he told police that he did assault her, that he had been hitting her for months, including that he has punched her in the head, shoulder, and back, kicked her leg, slapped her face, and watched her injuries swell. He told a reverend while they were bedside with Melpomeni that he caused the current brain injuries to his mother, and that his assaults on her had sent her to the hospital before. Besides blaming job stress for hurting her, Sideris said it was also from concern for his mom's health, jokes at work about him and his mother, and that she wasn't getting things DONE around the house. In 2005 he was permitted supervised visits with Melpomeni at her nursing home if a police officer was there - probably because a couple of sources reported that she kept asking, "When come my Georgie?" News reported that many officers offered Sideris help with that - volunteering to supervise.
Sideris didn't want the mandated psychological assessments he got because he feared that he would never be able to get a gun license again.
A neighbor said of Melpomeni,"She is a very quiet little lady.... sweet little thing, tiny little thing."

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