Former Port Richey mayor Dale Massad denied bond, again

The ex-mayor of Port Richey wants out of jail but even behind bars, he can't stay out of trouble.

Dale Massad wound up there accused of shooting at deputies who came to arrest him for practicing medicine without a license.

Monday, he went back to court to ask for bond.

Massad's jailhouse phone call with a witness gave the judge reason to say no - again.

Massad was brought into the Pasco County courtroom in a wheelchair. His attorney’s requested the judge have his handcuffs removed so the former Port Richey mayor could take notes.

They say Massad is a frail, old man who poses no threat to the public, which is why he should be given the option to post bond while he waits for his trial. The judge denied that request, yet again.

 “We are disappointed. We thought there were a change of circumstances,” said attorney Denis Devlaming. “When she denied bond, it was attempted first-degree murder of police officers. They filed lesser charges, which to me changed the playing field, and the judge had an opportunity but decided not to do it.”

Massad says he was confused and acted out of self-defense when he fired twice towards a SWAT team that was raiding his home in February. They were concerned he was operating on people inside his home without a medical license.

The judge pulled Massad’s option of bond a couple of months ago after being accused of a jailhouse phone call to the town’s then-interim mayor to tamper with a key witness - a city police officer who was involved in the SWAT raid.

Even Monday, the judge expressed frustration at a more recent jail house phone call where he tries to get a witness to recant his story.

 “Mr. Massad continues to call on the outside and have people talk to witnesses,” Sixth Judicial Circuit Judge Mary Handsel said.

His attorneys say they have tried to warn him.

“Dale Massad is going to do what Dale Massad wants to do and we’ve encouraged him to shut up,” Devlaming said.

The judge also addressed security concerns at Massad’s home after a break-in while he was in jail. His sister will now be staying at the house.

Massad goes on trial for the witness tampering and phone call charges at the end of this month.