Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Bloody, Naked Man Jumps Woman, Chews on her Head

Map of Pennsylvania with Hawley locator

Map of Pennsylvania with Hawley locator

In a scene all too reminiscent of the attack of Rudy Eugene, aka the Causeway Cannibal, on Ronald Poppo, in Florida this May, Richard Cimino Jr., 20, of Doylestown, Penn., was arrested after a crazed, animalistic, zombie-like attack on a woman in Hawley, but it is questionable whether pending blood tests will yield any real answers in this case either.

On September 12, 2012, after Cimino reportedly drove his car off the road in Hawley, Penn., sometime between 4:15 and 5:15 a.m., he got out of his car, stripped down to his underwear, and tried to enter a nearby home. Soon, the angry homeowner was shouting at Cimino as he ran away, shedding his underwear before breaking into an empty house. Cimino didn’t stay long, instead diving out a second-story window moments later and “severely injuring his arms and extremities,” according to State Trooper David Aulisio, who arrived later at the scene. Now back on the street and covered in blood, Cimino went after two women who were walking nearby. He jumped one of them, and, drenching her in his blood held her and “gnawed at (her) head, screaming like an animal.” The horrified woman freed herself and called 911.

By the time police arrived, an injured, delusional Cimino was lying on the street bleeding. He still had enough fight in him to resist officers, however, lunging at them, and punching an EMT, before being tasered into submission. Cimino was taken to a hospital in Scranton, but will likely have to be transferred to Philadelphia for plastic surgery. He is charged with two counts each of aggravated assault, simple assault, indecent exposure and criminal mischief, plus three counts of burglary and one count each of criminal trespass and defiant trespassing.

The woman Cimino attacked in Hawley was not seriously hurt, unlike homeless man Ronald Poppo, who had an eye and large part of his face eaten off before police shot and killed a naked, bloody Eugene, who was growling at police like an animal. At the time there was speculation that Eugene had been high on bath salts, not exotic salts scented with essential oils, but an amphetamine-like chemical that can be inhaled, swallowed or injected. The formulation varies, and it’s not clear what precisely police toxicology screens test for. In Eugene’s case the results came back negative for bath salts, but positive for marijuana, which is interesting in light of a another legal synthetic drug that fueled an animalistic zombie-like attack in Waco, Texas, this summer.

Michael Terron Daniel

Michael Terron Daniel

In June 2012 Michael Terron Daniel of Waco was high on K2, also called Spice or herbal incense. It is not a gum or spice that smells nice when you burn it, but rather a blend of plants and herbs that have been treated with a form of synthetic marijuana that is chemically different enough from Cannabis that it is not covered by current marijuana legislation. It may, however, be chemically similar enough, to test positive as marijuana in a tox screen. K2 is also hard to test for as there are many formulations.

According to police, Daniel ran outside his home “on his hands and knees and chased a neighbor while barking and growling like a dog,” before grabbing a black dog which he beat, choked, and “began to bite into the dog, ripping pieces of flesh away,” while it was still alive. The dog later died.

Police in Hawley were not sure whether Cimino was high, drunk, crazy or some combination of the three, and so had his blood tested when he was admitted to a Scranton hospital. The hope is that the results will answer some questions about his state of mind, but it is unlikely.

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