ELYRIA, Ohio (WJW) — A former assistant fire chief who assaulted his neighbor in a dispute over dogs is headed to jail.
Matthew Homolya, 46, of Brownhelm, was sentenced Friday morning to 90 days in the Lorain County Jail, with a following two years of probation. He was also ordered to pay $2,000 in fines and $4,600 in restitution to the victim.
Doorbell camera footage from the incident shows Homolya grabbing the man by the throat and throwing him to the ground, then punching him in the face. The victim declined an ambulance but later sought treatment for head injuries, the county sheriff’s office said at the time.
Homolya was indicted on felony counts including burglary, abduction and cruelty to companion animals, as well as several misdemeanors. He was set for trial in April, but pleaded guilty on March 1 to amended charges, several of which were reduced, court records show.
Prosecutors dismissed one of his felony animal cruelty counts and one of his felony burglary counts. His charge of abduction was also reduced to a misdemeanor charge of unlawful restraint.
“I truly do appreciate your service to this country and that you have dedicated your life to public service,” said Common Pleas Judge Melissa Kobasher. “I do believe you are remorseful for your actions. But I do believe that in that case your conduct was so offensive and absurd that it warrants a period of incarceration.”
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After his arrest in March 2022, Homolya was placed on administrative leave from his position as Lorain’s assistant fire chief. He later resigned, according to reports. He’s currently self-employed, his attorney said Friday in court.
“I do want to apologize,” Homolya told the court Friday. “I am extremely sorry for everything that happened; everything that has come from this; the effect it’s had on [the victim’s] life.”
Homolya said the ensuing public scrutiny was humiliating, especially for his family, and it impacted his ability to provide for them.
“I hope in some way my response to this will actually be a positive for them; that I am working very hard to rebuild my life and do do what’s right,” he said. “That’s all I can do.”