Cusano was scheduled to appear in Rutherford County Criminal Court tomorrow to answer aggravated domestic assault charges stemming from a May 21, 2011 incident in which the Ankh Warrior allegedly smacked his wife Diane in the face before dragging her by her hair through a pile of broken glass and throwing her to the ground repeatedly at the couple’s Smyrna home — where authorities subsequently found the entombed carcasses of four dogs. Animal cruelty charges were not pursued against the couple, effectively clearing them of any wrongdoing as far as that bizarre detail is concerned.
As for those domestic assault charges — well, it appears Cusano has struck a deal with the state, temporarily retiring the case for a year (or 11 months and 29 days, to be specific), eventually giving the guitarist an opportunity to “petition the Court to dismiss [the] case and expunge the pertinent records as provided by law,” in exchange for undergoing a whopping eight hours of anger management therapy.
Prosecutors have the option of pursuing the case against Cusano if he fails to honor what is the traffic school equivalent, in hours, he’d have to endure to clear, like, two moving violations. And he has until a Dec. 5, 2011 court date to make that happen.
This according to a pre-trial agreement (posted below) obtained by the Scene, and filed (quietly) last Monday, June 13. Cusano has neither been tried nor convicted of any charges as of yet.
At press time, Cusano’s attorney, Guy Dotson, Jr., could not be reached for comment on the rocker-turned-Rutherford-County-recluse’s behalf. However, earlier this month Cusano reportedly posted a lengthy statement of self-defense, puppy love, plugs for his VINNIE VINCENT MODEL GUITAR, and rants against media folks like myself for “publishing unsubstantiated sensationalized reports that are then taken as 'the truth,'” — in addition to being taken from police reports — on his YouTube page.
While the video has since been removed, you can see his comments transcribed (via metalunderground[dot]com) below:
I want to thank the many people who sent their well wishes to me through this very hurting time. There is much to say to all of you but the most important thing for me to let you know is that what you have been reading is not true. Irresponsible reporting and fabrication of events that never happened destroys peoples' lives, and that is exactly what has happened. It's very unfortunate we live in times where you're guilty even if you're innocent, but it's the way of the world now. It's also sad to me that not only do the media get away with publishing unsubstantiated sensationalized reports that are then taken as 'the truth,' but people now routinely hide behind their computers and usernames to intentionally inflict enormous damage without consequence, all for their own amusement. What they don't know is the pain they cause will always be greater than their fabrication or exaggeration.
About my precious dogs: My dogs and cat have been, are and will always be the most important thing in my whole life. I love them more than my words can say. I look at dogs and cats as "perfect little people" with loving and unconditional hearts that I believe God gifted to us to help comfort us through our lives, which always seems to be filled with pain in one way or another. I have 20 dogs that were rescued since 1999 from unspeakable and horrible abuse. I never turned my back or said no if a dog or cat needed a loving home. Each one of them is spoiled rotten; great food, love, comfort, care and shelter. They never leave my side and sit with me when I watch videos or when I play my guitar, the sound of which seems to fascinate them. Out of my twenty dogs, half of them are big dogs and the others are small. Fencing was put up to separate the big dogs from the little ones who could roam without any problem. One day, without my knowing, some of the big dogs accidentally got loose somehow and killed three of my babies.
When I found out it was too late. I was shattered and just too devastated for words. I still am and always will be. I will never get over it and I will always live with a pain greater than that of anything I had ever known or ever will know. I wrapped them each in blankets and laid them to rest in 'caskets' where I made a cross and wrote the words to 'Danny Boy' on their casket. The weather had been pretty bad here for awhile and an excavator was planned to come the property to dig up the ground so I could give them a proper burial when this terrible thing happened. I only hope someday we'll be together and I can watch them once again run in the meadows under the deep blue skies. As for the despicable reports regarding my beloved dogs, those who know me know I would never harm any animal as they are God's most beautiful and innocent of creations. I'm a vegetarian because of my respect for all animals. For those of you who wrongfully accused and judged me based on these 'stories' I understand because I would feel the same way if it was the truth. But it's not the truth. So, to all who perpetuated these cruel and vicious lies may the truth bring you to your senses so you can stop these terrible and unfounded accusations.
About the domestic situation: As you must know, this is a private matter that I cannot comment on at this time. Please don't believe everything you read. I would never hurt anyone-ever. What has been reported is an absolutely inaccurate depiction of the events that occurred that evening. When it's time the truth will be known.
In all, God gave me a silver lining to this terrible time by putting a long lost family back together through this tragedy and for that, it was worth what I am going thru. Unfortunately this "incident" caused my loved ones, who suffered through another emotionally devastating experience, to suffer a new burden they didn't need to bear. As much as they are hurting for me and from this, they're still there for me. I am a lucky person.
I'm an immensely private person and these events have caused me great pain and emotional anguish. I am requesting that you respect my privacy and that of my family during this difficult time and not engage in harmful useless gossip posted on blogs and forums.
My Music: It has been my greatest desire to put out my new music including remixed/remastered tracks that I am very proud of which many of you seem to enjoy, but I have experienced setbacks that hindered and delayed my plans. I am hoping to work through it all and get back on track. I would appreciate it if you could please bear with me.
About the VINNIE VINCENT MODEL GUITAR: My website is in the process of being constructed. Keep watching Youtube for the link to the site and for the video catalog. The Vinnie website will be a fun place to visit with everything Vinnie Vincent: music, photos, and the VINNIE VINCENT GUITAR in all its glory.
And now, without further adieu, is the “trailer” for the (cue pick-slide) VINNIE VINCENT MODEL GUITAR:
UPDATE: Cusano has, for lack of a better term, released a statement in the description field of the lone video on his YouTube page claiming that he is “happy to announce that all charges alleged against me were dropped and the case dismissed. Unfortunately and very sadly I was falsely charged.”
A call to the Rutherford County General Sessions Court reveals this statement is false. No new developments have been made in the Cusano case since the June 13 retirement — which is by no means a dismissal — posted above.
Cusano still must complete his eight hours of anger management counseling, he still has a Dec. 5, 2011 court appearance on the books, and — while he will have the opportunity to petition the court for a dismissal after 11 months and, now, 19 days — the aggravated domestic assault charge against him is, at press time, still pending, though he has not been convicted.