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Victim Nicholas Medugno: It was ‘a slaughterhouse’

“They split my head open,’’ says Nicholas Medugno.

Steven A. Rosenberg/Globe Staff

“They split my head open,’’ says Nicholas Medugno.

Nicholas Medugno is part of a group that never holds reunions. Medugno, who is 80, was one of the 12 people who hurried up a flight of stairs one early morning in July of 1982 and barricaded themselves in a small motel room above the strip joint known as King Arthur’s.

Inside the room, which had mirrors on the walls and on the ceiling, Medugno said a prayer. An Everett native, Korean War veteran, and the owner of a Papa Gino’s in Everett Square, Medugno was holed up in the room against officers of his hometown’s Police Department.

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Those inside did not open the door because the police had said “we’re going to kill you.”

“We were very, very afraid,” he said in a recent interview. “We had a police officer shooting through the door trying to get in.”

Until then, most of the night had been uneventful, Medugno recalled. He had shared drinks and laughs with Vincent Bordonaro, who called it a night and headed upstairs to sleep in Room 209 before a fight broke out between Charles Dimino, the bar manager’s son, and off-duty Everett officer John McLeod. When McLeod returned with a group of Everett cops, the men and women ran up the stairs to Room 209.

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After the police broke down the door, Medugno heard screaming and remembers the sound of the clubs hitting people. It became, he said, “a slaughterhouse.” He was clubbed on the head and felt blood. “They split my head open,” Medugno said.

After the beatings, Medugno held his friend Bordonaro, who would die a week later from his wounds. “He told me to take him home,” Medugno said. He also said that his friend never spoke again.

After the trial, the group never met again. Some who made it out alive from Room 209 are dead; others have been swallowed up by the streets.

Medugno now walks with a cane and says, more than 30 years later, he still suffers from dizziness from the beatings that night.

Somehow, he has learned to forgive. “You got to learn to forgive and forget, otherwise I don’t think you can carry on in your life,” he said.

STEVEN A. ROSENBERG

Steven A. Rosenberg can be reached at srosenberg@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @WriteRosenberg.
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