Two “horrible crimes” within hours of one another last weekend

SOUTHBRIDGE — Citing “an increase” in recent domestic violence calls, local police are seeking to raise awareness and urge victims to seek help and assistance.

While the identities of individuals were withheld “out of respect for the privacy of the victims of these horrible crimes,” a Friday morning press release from the Southbridge Police Department detailed a pair of incidents that occurred on Saturday, March 24.

Shortly after midnight, police were dispatched to investigate a domestic disturbance in which officers were advised a taser and pepper spray may have been used during an altercation between a husband and wife. Police said that upon arrival, the victim informed officers she had been assaulted and tased by her husband, who they observed attempting to flee the scene on foot through a garage. Officers pursued the man who returned to the residence and locked the door to prevent police entry. Officers forced entry into the residence as the man ran into a bedroom at the back of the residence, locking the bedroom door. Again police had to force their way in, putting the man under arrest after a brief struggle.

Police said the man was removed from the scene and transported to police headquarters for booking. Officers were then able to interview his wife and her adult daughter, who was present and witnessed the alleged attack. Both reported that prior to police arrival the married couple had been involved in a domestic dispute during which time the husband had “tased, hit, punched and choked” his wife. Both stated that the husband had held the taser to his victim’s neck, face and breast area, and also covered her mouth with his hands so she could not yell for help. According to police, the husband then threatened to kill his wife, at which point her daughter, in fear for her mother’s life, entered the bedroom to help.

When the husband noticed his wife’s daughter in the bedroom, he quickly got off his wife and began to approach her daughter while still holding the taser in his hand, police said. In fear for her own safety, the daughter allegedly sprayed her step-father in the face with pepper spray to stop any further attack. Officers said they were later able to recover the taser that the husband used during the attack and it was secured as evidence. The victim suffered non-life threatening injuries.

The suspect, identified only as “a Southbridge man,” was charged with two counts of domestic assault and battery, two counts of intimidation of a witness, threatening to commit a crime to wit murder, assault with a dangerous weapon to wit an electronic weapon (Taser), assault and battery with a dangerous weapon to wit an electronic weapon (Taser), possession of an electric stun gun, attempting to commit murder, strangulation/suffocation and resisting arrest.

Hours later, shortly before 6:30 a.m., police responded to another report of a domestic disturbance in which the caller reported a family member was being held against their will by an ex-boyfriend. The caller claimed the man had forced his way into the ex-girlfriend’s apartment in the middle of the night and the victim could not call the police for help but was able to communicate with the reporting party via a text message from a tablet device. The former couple had dated for approximately one year but had recently separated, police said.

As officers arrived on scene, two male subjects were observed attempting to flee the apartment on foot. Police detained both subjects for questioning and later determined one of the subjects had broken into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment earlier in the night by kicking in the door. The victim stated that at approximately 2 a.m. she heard a loud bang at her door, which sounded line someone kicking in her door. The victim, who was still in bed, then observed her ex-boyfriend enter her bedroom and grab both her house phone and cell phone so she could not call for help. Police said the ex-boyfriend then went directly to a drawer and took out a knife pointing, it in the woman’s direction and stated that he wanted to “kill her.”

The victim was eventually able to use her child’s tablet to send out a text message to her mother asking for help. The victim’s mother attempted to contact her daughter by telephone but her ex-boyfriend did not allow her to answer the phone. When the victim’s mother went to the apartment to check on her daughter, police said the ex-boyfriend attempted to flee while another family member also arrived. They collectively attempted to stop the ex-boyfriend from leaving the apartment. Police officers arrived on scene and placed the man under arrest. A knife was later recovered by officers and it was secured as evidence. The victim was not physically injured during this incident.

Identified only as “a Southbridge man,” the suspect was charged with kidnapping, breaking and entering in the nighttime with intent to commit a felony, malicious destruction of property over $250, intimidation of a witness, armed assault in a dwelling and with threatening to commit a crime to wit murder.

The suspects in both of these cases were arraigned in Dudley District Court on Monday 26. Both are being held without bail due to the seriousness of the charges.

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