Local News

Ex-Councilman Claims Self-Defense in Marine's Shooting

Posted April 26, 2007 12:48 p.m. EDT
Updated April 26, 2007 5:44 p.m. EDT

— Attorneys for a former Fayetteville City Council member said he shot a Marine reservist in self-defense last fall after the reservist climbed into the man's car and refused to get out.

Steve Satisky, 59, was indicted Wednesday on attempted first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon charges in connection with the Oct. 16 shooting of Cpl. John Lake III.

Satisky, who served on the City Council in the 1970s and was on the Cumberland County Alcoholic Beverage Control Board at the time of the shooting, surrendered to police Thursday morning and made his first court appearance.

Prosecutors outlined the case in court, saying Lake had been drinking when he got out of a cab outside a sports bar on Bragg Boulevard and jumped into the back of Satisky's car.

Satisky and a woman were in the front seat, and he shot Lake in the head after the reservist refused to get out, prosecutors said.

The two men didn't know each other, and it's unclear why Lake got into the car, prosecutors said.

Lake remains in a coma at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. Although his family declined to comment on his condition, prosecutors said it's unlikely he would regain consciousness.

Defense attorney Gerald Beaver declined to provide more details about the incident, including identifying the woman who was in the car, but called the shooting a case of self-defense.

"(Lake) came into the vehicle uninvited. He would not leave when asked to do so. When Mr. Satisky ... tried opening the door to try to get him out, Mr. Satisky was struck in the face," Beaver said.

Lake, an Iraq War veteran, returned to the U.S. last summer with an injured shoulder, but remained on active duty.

John Lake Jr. said Thursday he was happy that Satisky has been charged with shooting his son. But he expressed frustration that more than six months passed before that happened.

Fayetteville police were tight-lipped about their investigation for months after the shooting.

The lack of information even frustrated Satisky and his lawyers.

"This has been half a year. It's been incredibly agonizing not knowing what's going on," defense attorney David Courie said.

John Lake Jr. said he doesn't buy the self-defense argument.

"It's kind of difficult for me to understand that they can claim self-defense (when) you shoot an unarmed man," he said. "In my opinion, this didn't warrant it at all."

Satisky, who owns a pawn shop, resigned his position with the ABC board and kept a low profile in recent months.

Beaver said Satisky has been fighting esophageal cancer and had undergone chemotherapy, radiation and multiple surgeries shortly before the shooting.

"When you have someone who is high-profile in the community, that explanation doesn't fly as well," Beaver said of the self-defense argument.

Satisky was released on bond Thursday night.