TORONTO, March 10, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The knife-wielding man who attacked a woman during during a pro-life witness in Toronto last October was found guilty of two counts of assault and of possessing a dangerous weapon.
Michael Panagapko of Toronto, 45, pled guilty to three of the five charges brought against him, court documents obtained by LifeSiteNews reveal. On February 27 he was handed a suspended sentence with two years probation, including a five-year weapons probation and a requirement that he provide a sample of his DNA.
Panagapko assaulted Faye Arellano while she was attending a silent and prayerful Life Chain pro-life event October 6.
Arellano had removed herself from the group of pro-life demonstrators to tell them that it was time to disperse. She held a rosary in one hand and a sign in the other that read: “Life, the first inalienable right.”
Arellano told LifeSiteNews at that time how she was suddenly and unexpectedly assaulted by the man, who at first doused her with water from a bottle, then hurled the empty bottle at her face, grabbed her by the hair, slammed her to the ground, and began punching and kicking her repeatedly before drawing his knife.
“I’m sure he must have been motivated by hatred of what he was seeing at that time,” recounted Arellano.
The attack on Arellano may have been more serious had it not been for Knight of Columbus member Josue Gauran, who put himself between Arellano and her attacker.
Panagapko was also found guilty of assault against Gauran.
While the charge against Panagapko of assaulting Arellano with a knife was ultimately dismissed by the Crown, the attacker was forced to give up his knife as part of the sentence.