In a criminal career that’s spanned 18 years and at least 15 prior arrests, Dondi DeCosta had been on relatively good behavior leading up to Oct. 12, 2014.
But on that day, something seemingly snapped as DeCosta pulled a knife on a couple outside an Upper Holmesburg Pathmark and received a bullet to the groin for his troubles.
On June 27, a Philadelphia jury acquitted DeCosta, 38, of felony charges in the case, but convicted him of two misdemeanors: possessing an instrument of crime and making terroristic threats. The man who shot him was not accused of violating the law.
The altercation occurred at 8700 Frankford Ave. A man and his female companion were approaching the store when DeCosta brandished a knife and charged them. The male victim had a permit to carry and warned DeCosta to back off, but DeCosta continued forward. The man shot him in self defense.
DeCosta had not been arrested in more than five years. But since 1998, records show, police have locked him up at least 15 times for non-violent and violent offenses.
Over the years, he has pleaded guilty or been convicted of robbery, drug possession, theft and obstruction of the administration of law, but acquitted of aggravated assault, firearms violation, indecent exposure and other offenses.
He has repeatedly been sentenced to probation and ordered into drug treatment, but was not sentenced to prison, records show.
Last week, Common Pleas Court Judge Anne Marie Coyle ordered DeCosta to undergo a pre-sentence investigation and mental health evaluation before a Sept. 30 sentencing. ••