Matthew Clemmens couldn't barf up a sincere-enough apology to satisfy a judge yesterday.
Family Court Administrative Judge Kevin Dougherty slammed the chubby 21-year-old from Cherry Hill, now nicknamed "Pukemon," out of the courtroom "ballpark" with a harsh sentence that shocked courtroom observers.
He sentenced Clemmens to 30 to 90 days behind bars for deliberately vomiting on Michael Vangelo, an off-duty Easton police captain, and the officer's 11-year-old daughter at a Phillies game in April, and for throwing right hooks at the dad's head, making his left ear bleed.
Pukemon will also have to clean bathrooms and chuck out the trash at Citizens Bank Park, if the Phillies organization agrees. The judge ordered him to do so as part of 50 hours of community service during two years' probation. And he is to pay Vangelo $315 in restitution for game tickets and parking.
Clemmens' arrest and his subsequent guilty plea to charges of disorderly conduct, simple assault and harassment captured national and international headlines. "Chucker strikes out," blared the Northern Territory News in Australia. "Yob is sick over family," screamed the Daily Mail, a British tabloid, using a slang for hoodlum.
Yesterday, Clemmens appeared neat and tidy, dressed in a suit, with his hair cut short. He read a long statement to the judge, apologizing for his "inappropriate" behavior.
After pausing to wipe his eyes with a tissue, he turned to look back at Vangelo, who was sitting in the front row of the courtroom.
His face red and splotchy, Clemmens told Vangelo he was sorry that he "ruined" the officer's day at the ballpark with his two daughters, 11 and 15.
At times mumbling and tearing up, he said he brought "embarrassment" on "myself and my family" and knows he "brought shame on Phillies fans."
Vangelo told the judge that on April 14, Clemmens and three friends - a man and two women - were sitting behind him, his daughters and their friend at the ballpark. Clemmens and his friends were drinking alcohol and using the F word, Vangelo said.
Clemmens' male buddy spit, and was ejected by security. Clemmens and his two female friends then left, but Clemmens returned solo and put two fingers down his throat and projectile-vomited on Vangelo and the 11-year-old. Vangelo shoved Clemmens away, and Clemmens slugged Vangelo four to five times in the head. While the cop restrained himself, not punching back, four other fans jumped on Clemmens and held him as he vomited on their shoes, Vangelo said.
The defendant's parents, Gary and Sandra Clemmens, said their son's unruliness was out of character. The father turned to Vangelo, apologizing, and said his son is not a "monster."
Defense attorney Richard Hark asked the judge for probation and community service with two groups in New Jersey that the Clemmens family knows. Prosecutor Patrick Doyle asked for a sentence in the "top end of the guidelines," which the judge gave.
Dougherty, in a stern voice, told Clemmens he believed his apology "was feigned" while his father's "was sincere." He said Clemmens' behavior was mirrored by a tattoo he has on his forearm that reads "Heartless."
"I don't know whether you thought you were hitting a home run with your friends, but you struck out," the judge said, ordering that Clemmens be taken into custody immediately, as Clemmens' girlfriend sobbed.