Wife of man beat with flashlight shows different side of vet shot by police

Posted Nov. 22, 2011, at 4:10 a.m.
Last modified Nov. 22, 2011, at 5:09 p.m.

FARMINGTON, Maine — A woman whose husband was seriously injured when he was beat over the head with a flashlight in January said she has seen a different side of military veteran Justin Crowley-Smilek.

Crowley-Smilek, 28, of Farmington was shot by a Farmington officer Saturday outside the Farmington Municipal Building after he confronted the officer with a knife, officials said.

Crowley-Smilek, a disabled veteran, was arrested in January on an aggravated assault charge against Joshua Conkey, who was asleep in his vehicle in a Front Street parking lot in Farmington, police said. On Friday, Crowley-Smilek had been ordered to have a mental evaluation in connection with that case, which was awaiting trial.

Conkey said he had too much to drink and was sleeping in his car parked at the Front Street Tavern parking lot when two men got in and asked for a ride, Police Chief Jack Peck said previously. Conkey refused, Peck said, and asked them to leave or he would call 911.

One of the men, Crowley-Smilek, started beating the victim on the head and face, Peck said at the time.

Sonya Conkey, Joshua’s wife, said Monday that their hearts go out to the family of Crowley-Smilek.

“I mean no disrespect to them,” she said.

However, she said she knew the havoc he could cause.

Conkey said her husband had just come home from Boston Children’s Hospital, where their 4-month-old baby was, and he had learned that their daughter may only live another four months.

He was upset and decided to go have a couple of drinks. He talked to his wife during that time and he went to the car to sleep in the passenger’s seat, she said.

Sonya Conkey said he woke up when two people got into his car. One sat in the driver’s seat and the other behind him.

He told the men to get out and the one in the front did. Crowley-Smilek, who was in the back seat, she said, used his Surefire tactical flashlight, which has sharp edges, to beat her husband.

“There were 14 marks on my husband,” Conkey said.

He was hit so hard in the face that it broke his glasses and left an indent on his face, she said. He hasn’t been able to work since January, she said.

Sonya Conkey said her husband had been hoping the case would go to trial if Crowley-Smilek did not plead guilty.

She said she has a copy of the police interview with Crowley-Smilek and in it he admitted he beat her husband.

She said after reading reports of police shooting a troubled veteran, she wanted to show there was another side to him.

“He ruined our lives,” Conkey said.

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