CLEARWATER — The father of a man who was critically injured in a street-racing crash involving Hulk Hogan's son was injured in a jailhouse brawl this month, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
Edward Graziano, whose son suffered a broken skull when 17-year-old Nick Bollea lost control of his Toyota Supra and crashed into a palm tree near downtown Clearwater in August 2007, has been in jail for more than a year.
He has a hearing today on a charge he tried to hire a hit man to kill his estranged wife, Debra.
According to a sheriff's report released Sunday, Graziano and another inmate started fighting shortly after jail staff opened the gates the morning of April 8 and released inmates from lockdown.
Graziano, 54, told investigators that Dominick Christiano stole commissary items from him the night before, then entered his cell and punched him three or four times as he lay in bed.
Christiano, 37, said he didn't steal anything from Graziano. He told investigators that Graziano had cheated him, cursed at him, pushed him and swung an empty box at him.
While the men offered different versions of the fight and what led to it, this much is true: Graziano required medical care.
"I observed swelling underneath Inmate Graziano's left eye, swelling to his left wrist and a cut on the right side of his head," detention Deputy Paul T. Lindner II wrote in the report.
Lindner does not mention any injuries to Christiano, who is in jail for a probation violation and burglary charges.
Neither man pressed charges against the other.
The case has been closed and the men have been moved to different wings of the jail.
Graziano's attorney, John Trevena, told Bay News 9, the first to report the fight, that jail has "been absolutely horrible for Ed. He literally breaks down on a daily basis."
Graziano has been in jail since Feb. 26, 2009, when Pinellas sheriff's deputies arrested him on charges that he paid a hit man $2,100 and a pizza gift card to kill his wife. According to court documents, he tried to strangle himself with a seat belt in a transport van as he was being taken to jail.
The court documents also contain an allegation that Graziano brought his mother with him when he paid for the hit man, who turned out to be an undercover detective.
Graziano's son, John, was involved in a lawsuit to obtain funds for his future care. That suit against Nick Bollea and his parents, professional wrestler Terry "Hulk Hogan" Bollea and Linda Bollea, was settled in February. The terms are confidential.
Times researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report. Rodney Thrash can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4167.