MORRISTOWN — A Superior Court judge ordered the pretrial detention of a man who is charged with returning to his workplace in Parsippany with a 16-inch hunting knife and threatening to cut off an owner’s head, moments after he was fired for being drunk on the job, according to records.
“The nature and circumstances of the offense are particularly troubling to the court on a number of fronts,” Superior Court Judge Stephen Taylor said in Morristown on Tuesday, in deciding to detain Brooklyn, N.Y. resident Gregory Radzyuk, 46, in the Morris County jail while his criminal charges are pending.
Radzyuk was fired on June 27 from Farmplast where he worked as a welder, according to information made public during his detention hearing on Tuesday.
Farmplast, a manufacturer of plastic containers, is located on E. Halsey Road in Parsippany.
The company fired Radzyuk after he allegedly reported to work intoxicated, despite prior warnings, according to court documents.
An immigrant from Israel who has been in this country since 2000, Radzyuk also has overstayed his work visa and was due to have an immigration hearing in September, according to hearing information.
After he was fired, Radzyuk allegedly retrieved from his car a 16-inch, double-edged serrated hunting knife, re-entered the business, grabbed the arm of the female co-owner and said: “I’ll cut your (expletive) head off,” Morris County Assistant Prosecutor John McNamara Jr. said at the hearing.
The knife was in a sheath, and Radzyuk did not unsheathe it, said authorities. Police have said other employees were able to seize the knife and restrain Radzyuk outside the building until police arrived.
Radzyuk is divorced and said he lives in Brooklyn with his mother’s cousin. Under the state’s new criminal justice reform program – which does not use monetary bail as a factor in release from custody – McNamara filed a motion with the court for Radzyuk’s pretrial detention.
McNamara said Radzyuk poses a danger to the community and specifically to the victim at Farmplast, and is a flight risk.
As occurs now with all defendants who are charged on warrant complaints, a public safety assessment (PSA) was done on Radzyuk through an algorithm used on all defendants.
A score was produced that showed him to be a low risk for committing a new offense or failing to appear and recommended that he be released pretrial.
The Prosecutor’s Office disagreed and filed a detention motion, noting the PSA didn’t include Radzyuk’s past failure to appear in court on motor vehicle offenses nor accounted for his particular characteristics.
Since the PSA was low and release was recommended, it was McNamara’s burden to prove to the judge that no conditions could be placed on Radzyuk that would protect the community short of detention.
Other factors warrant detention, McNamara argued, citing Radzyuk’s alleged drinking habits, his tenuous stay in the United States because of his expired work visa, and documents that show different addresses for him in New York City. McNamara said Radzyuk may even be transient.
Defense attorney Elizabeth Martin argued for release, and said Radzyuk, who was assisted at the hearing by a Hebrew interpreter, wants to stay in the United States and hopes to renew his work visa during the immigration hearing in September.
But the judge noted Radzyuk no longer has a job.
Martin suggested Radzyuk be released on condition he have no contact with the alleged victims and said he could even be ordered to attend Alcoholics Anonymous.
“I don’t think we can detain someone just because they have an alcohol problem,” she said, noting that Radzyuk has no prior criminal record, only motor vehicle offenses. “We can’t detain a person just because he is homeless.”
Taylor said Radzyuk poses a danger to the victim and is a flight risk.
He said he could not think of a release package that would ensure Radzyuk was adequately supervised on release and opted to keep him in the Morris County jail while the charges are pending.
He asked why Radzyuk had a 16-inch hunting knife in his vehicle.
“That is very troubling,” the judge said. “I have not heard any legitimate reason for it.”
Radzyuk is charged with burglary for re-entering the business after being told to leave; terroristic threats, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a weapon.