Rep. Sonny Borrelli never struck his then-wife during a 2001 incident at the couple’s Lake Havasu City home, according to the GOP lawmaker’s stepson, who added that he was coached about what to tell the police at the time by his mother.
David W. Nadrchal, Jr., Borrelli’s stepson, wrote in a letter that his claim in March 2001 that Borrelli punched his wife in the mouth three times was a fabrication at the urging of his mother, who, he wrote, “has been, for almost as long as I can remember, a broken person.”
According to a Lake Havasu City police report, Borrelli’s wife and her son, Nadrchal, described a violent encounter between the couple that left the wife bleeding from the mouth and with a bump on her head. Both the wife and Nadrchal told police the injuries were the result of Borrelli punching her and pushing her to the floor.
Borrelli was arrested and pleaded guilty to a class 1 misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge tagged with domestic violence.
“At the time I told the police officers exactly what my mother instructed me to say to them,” Nadrchal wrote. “Going against her orders at (14 years old) was simply unthinkable. But Sonny never struck her. He only defended himself from the violent side effects of one of her rages and tried to restrain her from hurting himself and others.”
When reached by the Arizona Capitol Times, Nadrchal said he had no further comment beyond what he wrote in the letter. Nadrchal’s mother could not be reached for comment – she was sentenced to one year in Mohave County jail on July 19 after pleading guilty to attempted theft, a class 6 felony, in June.
When he called the police that night, Nadrchal wrote that he did so only to seek medical attention for his mother. That call unintentionally mobilized the police, not medical personnel, he wrote.
“When it became obvious that my mother’s meltdown was only going to get worse, Sonny tried to leave, but by then my call to 911 had summoned the police, and the entire episode became a matter of public record,” Nadrchal wrote.
Borrelli previously told Arizona Capitol Times that he never struck his wife, who he later divorced, and that the incident amounted to his wife undergoing a stress-induced “meltdown.” Any injuries that his wife suffered during the incident must have been self-inflicted, a result of her “psychotic episode,” he said.
Pleading guilty to the domestic violence charge was Borrelli’s best course of action, he said, because it ensured that his finances were free to fight to retain custody of a son from a previous marriage, rather than fight off the misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge he pleaded guilty to.
Nadrchal backed up Borrelli’s claim that pleading guilty to the domestic violence misdemeanor charge was in his best interest, given the ongoing custody battle. Borrelli took the blame, recognizing that the situation would only be made worse if he tried to place the blame on his wife, Nadrchal wrote. He claimed that prosecutors dropped most of the charges against Borrelli “because there was no evidence to support them, other than the testimony of a mentally compromised and intoxicated ‘witness.’”
“He took the blame so that he could spend his few dollars defending custody of his son. He put his kids first, even those of us who came to him through marriage,” Nadrchal wrote.
Nadrchal – who followed in his stepfather’s footsteps and is now a Marine based in Twentynine Palms, Calif. – praised Borrelli as a Marine and a father, who he said passed on Marine values.
“(Marines) sacrifice for each other without thinking, like Sonny did so many years ago to keep both of my parents from being arrested on the same night and sending me and my brothers to foster care,” he wrote.
Nadrchal also took issue with former Sen. Ron Gould’s characterization of his stepfather as a “wife-beater.” Gould, Borrelli’s opponent in the primary election for the Legislative District 5 Senate seat, is just the latest in a series of political foes who “rehash these 15-year-old stories every few years to see if they can beat my father in his campaigns,” Nadrchal wrote.
“Mr. Gould would know nothing of the kind of father, provider, and citizen Sonny Borrelli has been to me and the state of Arizona,” he wrote. “If I were to believe everything I read on the internet about Ron Gould, I would think he would be more compassionate with matters concerning running for office and family adversity. Instead Mr. Gould only seeks political gain.”
When asked about Nadrchal’s claim, Gould told the Capitol Times he stands by his comment.
“The only information I have is the police report, and that’s not what the police report says,” Gould said.
Borrelli said Tuesday that Nadrchal’s letter proves he was true to his word.
“I did not strike my ex-wife. I’ve never abused my children,” he said “I’ve tried to be a standup guy all my life and serve others.”