EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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May 9, 2013

Police: Officers acted properly in fatal stabbing case

No arrest, monitoring, because woman not violent during first police response to home

HAVERHILL — The deputy police chief said his review of a boyfriend-girlfriend dispute that ended with the man’s fatal stabbing shows officers handled the case properly.

Deputy Donald Thompson also said there was no indication the woman was violent and should have been arrested or monitored by police while at Merrimack Valley Hospital, where officers had her taken from her apartment because she was heavily intoxicated. Several hours later, she left the hospital and returned to the apartment, where she stabbed her boyfriend to death, police said.

Thompson said officers had no reason to make arrests when they responded just after 5 p.m. Monday to the report of a disturbance at the home of Susan Lovejoy — Apt. 306 in the 1 Water St. building at the edge of downtown. The officers saw no signs of physical violence that would have indicated the need to make an arrest, Thompson said.

He said the officers’ prime concern was getting medical treatment for Lovejoy, who had ingested a large amount of alcohol and several pills before an argument with her boyfriend, Kevin Paul, according to a police report. The officers arranged to have Lovejoy taken by ambulance to the hospital for observation.

Thompson said arresting Lovejoy or placing her in protective custody in a police station cell would have made no sense because she needed medical attention and was not violent.

“They (the officers) found that the woman was very incoherent and was making very little sense, which they believe was due to her extreme intoxication,” Thompson said. “They had information that she was drinking heavily and was taking a number of pills, and that she expressed an interest in going to the hospital and being treated.

“It made no sense to put her in a cell,” Thompson said. “The officers made a determination that sending her to the hospital was the proper course of action.”

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