The emergency room patient accused of attacking security guards and Lower Merion police officers and threatening to infect people with HIV Dec. 3 learned Thursday she is no longer facing three aggravated assault charges, the most serious of the counts against her.
Shanelle Finigan, 26, of Newtown Square appeared in , where Judge Kathleen Valentine accepted Lower Merion Officer John Mick's recommendation that the three second-degree felonies be dismissed.
The judge scheduled Finigan to face the remainder of the charges—including simple assault, harassment, disorderly conduct, public intoxication, resisting arrest and escape—at a formal arraignment 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29, in the Court of Common Pleas in Norristown.
In an interview with Patch after the brief court session, Finigan said she wasn't surprised to see the aggravated assault charges dropped.
"It is what it is. This is something that shouldn't have even gotten to this," Finigan said. "I don't see this going too badly for me (in Norristown)."
The complaint against Finigan, prepared by Mick and citing witnesses, describes an incident taking place about 12:05 a.m. Dec. 3. Russell Rafine, a hospital security officer, intervened when he saw Finigan threatening medical staff, at which point she pulled out her intravenous tube, according to the complaint. Finigan said she had HIV and would give it to everyone there, then she slapped Rafine in the face and kicked him in the groin as she tried to get past him, according to the complaint.
Finigan told Patch she pushed Rafine but disputed his account of the incident, adding that the security guard had grabbed her by the clavicle she had just broken after falling off a bar stool.
"He had no business grabbing my broken collarbone," Finigan said. "Fight or flight kicked in, and I'm not a runner, so that's what happened."
Police then escorted Finigan out of the hospital in a wheelchair as she kicked and cursed, according to the complaint. In the police car, Finigan repeatedly removed her handcuff and banged on the glass partition hard enough that it almost shattered, wrote Mick, who eventually used a taser in an attempt to stun her.