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Haverhill

May 20, 2014

Caretaker accused of punching man in wheelchair ordered held

HAVERHILL — A Lawrence man who police charged with attacking a disabled person in his care was ordered held without bail yesterday during a hearing in Newburyport District Court.

According to police, the victim said the caretaker was drunk when he punched his right knee, which investigators said showed signs of bruising.

Police charged Cosmas James Mbugua, 22, of 5 Howe Court, Lawrence, with assault and battery on a disabled person.

Mbugua was arrested April 25 and was ordered held pending a dangerousness hearing, which was moved to Newburyport District Court because Haverhill District Court is not handicapped accessible and two of the witnesses are in wheelchairs, according to the Essex District Attorney’s Office.

At that hearing yesterday, Judge Peter Doyle found Mbugua to be dangerous and ordered him held without bail. A pretrial hearing was scheduled for June 13. Mbugua was represented by defense attorney Christopher Holland of Haverhill.

Police said late on the night of April 25, they were called to 275 Lowell Ave., a state-operated home for physically disabled people.

According to a police report, officers talked to a nurse at the home when they arrived. She told them that one of the disabled residents said he was assaulted by Mbugua, a caretaker who is directly responsible for the care of five residents of the home.

The report said an officer then interviewed the resident who complained about being assaulted. The resident, sitting in his wheelchair, said that a few minutes before police arrived Mbugua yelled at him and punched him on the inside of his right knee, according to the report. The officer said he noticed a bruise on the resident’s knee. The resident also said he believed Mbugua had been drinking before the assault, according to the report.

The officer then interviewed Mbugua, “who was visibly intoxicated,’’ according to the report.

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