Man denies assaulting, threatening woman
By Darren Marcy
Staff Writer | March 21,2014
A man accused of aggravated domestic assault as well as violating an abuse prevention order denied those charges in Rutland criminal court.
Joshua Richards, 33, of West Haven was arraigned on the charges Monday after a woman accused him of choking her and spitting on her and her children Thursday during an altercation at Richards’ parents home in Benson, in which he also allegedly threatened to kill the woman and her children.
Richards’ attorney Chris Howe said Richards disputes those allegations, saying he only helped her get her car running after it died in the driveway of his parents house at 3001 Route 144.
The two sides of the story in the affidavit are vastly different.
According to the affidavit, the woman told police she had agreed to leave her children with Richards’ parents for the evening Thursday, and maybe the weekend.
But when she arrived, she ran out of gas and Richards came out and started berating her, the affidavit said.
He retrieved a can of gas and then jumped the car to get the woman back on the road, but before that happened, the confrontation escalated, the report said.
The woman said Richards grabbed her arm and then choked her with both hands until she nearly lost consciousness with her children in the car, according to the affidavit.
She was able to get away and get into her car and lock the door, but before she could get the window rolled up, Richards blocked it with his arms, the report said.
He continued the argument before spitting on her repeatedly and one of the young children in the car, the report said. At one point he threatened to kill the woman and her children, according to the woman’s statement contained in the affidavit.
Howe, the defense attorney, however, said Richards simply fixed the car and responded to a question the woman answered in a way that angered her, according to the affidavit.
He said she drove away and he and his parents followed her into Fair Haven to make sure she arrived safely.
Also, Howe brought a statement into court from a neighbor who witnessed the events from her house and said she didn’t see any kind of altercation.
After listening to the arguments by the attorneys, Judge Theresa DiMauro released Richards, who was originally held on $25,000 bail, without bail but with many conditions into the custody of his parents, Peter and Lorraine Richards.
If convicted on both charges, Richards could face up to 15 years in jail, or a fine of $25,000 for the assault charge and up to a year in jail and a fine of $5,000 for violating the abuse prevention order.