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Guest Opinion

My family’s trauma worse for actions of DA’s office


The painful experience of our son’s recent sentencing was made all the more painful by reading about it in the Bucks County Crimewatch report where some media glean information for their stories. Our son, Colin Petroziello, now 26, was sentenced to 15-30 years in state prison on a laundry list of charges, including the attempted murder of a police officer. His attorney pleaded no contest but mentally ill.

Colin was acutely paranoid at the time, Aug. 18, 2021. He fired a shotgun at a door believing “bad men with guns” were trying to break in. Unfortunately, Yardley Police Chief Joseph Kelly was on the other side of the door. Fortunately, thankfully, the chief’s worst injury was a broken finger.

What’s troubling about the Crimewatch report is the damage it does to my wife, Ann. It reports that she knew Colin was armed and “never gave that information when she called for assistance from probation. Petroziello’s mother also texted (Probation Officer Christina) Viviano, asking if she was still on her way while never mentioning her son was armed.”

This is factually inaccurate. I left a message for DA Matt Weintraub about this and spoke twice to county communications representative Manuel Gamiz Jr. He insists it is accurate. It isn’t.

This erroneous accusation was first made by prosecutor Jennifer Schorn at a hearing in September without supporting evidence or an opportunity for my wife to respond on the record.

My issue is the damage it does to Ann’s character and reputation.

We were trying to get our son to a hearing in Philadelphia related to a car accident. The plan was for Ann to take him to the hearing and I was going to let the downstairs neighbor’s HVAC contractor into the condo to service her mechanical equipment in the attic.

We asked the PO to arrive at 11 a.m. Ann texted the PO from her car at 10:58. Are you here yet, she asked, thinking the PO might be inside the condo. Two minutes later the PO texted back that she was just pulling into the parking lot. Ann presented screen shots of those messages and testified under oath at the sentencing that this was her last contact with the PO.

Ann couldn’t possibly have known Colin was armed because she wasn’t even in the condo yet — contrary to the misleading Crimewatch report. When she got the text back from the PO, she let herself into the condo with a key. Would she have just walked through the door if she knew Colin was armed, especially being aware of his acute paranoia?

When she entered, she said Colin was sober but in an agitated state raging that he wasn’t going to court, that there are men with guns hiding in the bushes who we paid to be there. When the PO knocked on the door, Colin stormed down the steps, slammed the door and dragged a loveseat down as a barricade.

Inside, Ann said Colin paced around the living room saying he didn’t want to hurt her or anybody else but that this is the day “you’re going to watch your son die.” He went into the bedroom and called her in. He had a gun in his mouth.

This is the first time she saw a weapon.

She calmly, bravely told him about how important he is to her, how she couldn’t go on without him being part of her life. She told him there are people he hasn’t met yet who will benefit from knowing him, people he has to live for. She inched forward, reached out and gently pulled the gun out of his mouth.

That was heroic. Without regard for her own life, she saved our son’s life. She went back to the living room where her purse was with her cell phone. That’s when Chief Kelly knocked on the door and Colin appeared with a shotgun at the top of the steps.

Ann heard it before she saw it.

At the sentencing, prosecutor Jennifer Schorn scolded that eight minutes passed between the time Ann entered the condo and Kelly knocked. “Why didn’t you call 911?” she asked.

How was she supposed to do that what with her agitated, mentally ill, suicidal son standing in front of her — holding a gun?

After he did what he did, Colin took several anxiety pills and drank four cans of beer. When he passed out, Ann grabbed the shotgun, threw it out a second-story window and, at age 67, climbed out that same window.

That was heroic.

But instead of being heralded for her bravery and quick thinking, her character is assassinated and her reputation savaged. And it continues daily with the county’s apparent sanction.


We struggled for the last 20 years trying to get a mentally ill child, teen and adult on a positive track so he could lead a productive, self-sustaining life. We frantically tried to keep him from sinking into the criminal justice system knowing the hurdles that would create for an already troubled individual beleaguered by intellectual deficits. We invested a chunk of our retirement savings in housing for him so he wouldn’t be homeless. And we both suffered emotional trauma along the way, as mental health interventions were ineffective or indifferent, and our son was lost to the ravages of mental illness. Yes, drugs and alcohol played a role in his deterioration, as they usually do for mentally ill people searching for relief from demons and loneliness.

This has been a tragedy for our family, a tragedy now compounded by an ugly, reckless and reprehensible attack on a devoted mother who demonstrated bravery and savvy in the face of danger and chaos.

Guy Petroziello is the father of Colin Petroziello, of Yardley, who was sentenced to serve 15-30 years in state prison for shooting Yardley Police Chief Joseph Kelly on Aug. 18, 2001.

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