DOYLESTOWN — The man accused of stabbing an off-duty Lansdale police officer who came to the aid of a Richland Township officer during a foot chase that ended on Route 309 has pleaded no contest to the charges.
Stephen Deatelhauser, 46, who has been in Bucks County Correctional Facility without bail since his July 5, 2019 arrest in the incident, entered the nolo contendere plea Oct. 2 in a video hook-up from the prison to Bucks County Judge Gary Gilman's courtroom.
Sentencing was deferred until Oct. 20 for a mental health evaluation report to be finalized.
Lansdale Officer Daniel Gallagher received seven stitches after being stabbed in the left shoulder during the incident, police said in the criminal complaint filed by Richland Township Police Cpl. Matthew Lawhead and detective Greg Beidler of the Bucks County District Attorney's Office. The Richland department had been dispatched for a disturbance at a shopping center.
During the incident, Deatelhauser fled on foot with a pocket knife with the blade extended in one hand and a kubotan puncture weapon in the other, police said. Gallagher was stabbed in the shoulder by the knife as he grabbed Deatelhauser around the torso in an attempt to get him to the ground, the criminal complaint said.
Deatelhauser said he was entering the no contest plea to the charges, but had not meant to stab Gallagher.
“He didn't stab him intentionally, but the injury did occur,” Bradley Harry Bastedo, Deatelhauser's attorney, said.
Deatelhauser was charged with two counts of aggravated assault, along with charges of fleeing to avoid apprehension, terroristic threats, simple assault and having set off a false fire alarm.
He also pleaded no contest Oct. 2 to a reckless burning charge in a case in which Pennridge Regional Police said he locked himself in a closet at A&T Chevrolet in West Rockhill on April 16, 2019 and set a fire.
In both cases, Deatelhauser had seizures the previous day and was treated at a hospital, then released, Bastedo said.
“Both times, I was in the hospital the night before,” Deatelhauser said.
A nolo contendere plea is not a guilty plea, but has a similar effect in sentencing. It does not dispute the charges.
Gallagher, who has been a Lansdale officer since April of 2011, was promoted to sergeant in September of 2019. The National Liberty Museum presented him with an Award of Valor medal for his actions in the July 5, 2019 incident.