NEWBURYPORT — Judge Peter Doyle yesterday refused to overturn another justice's decision to keep an East Kingston police officer and his childhood friend in jail for at least another three weeks without bail while they await trial on felony aggravated assault and battery charges.
At a pretrial hearing at Newburyport District Court, attorneys for Chad Larson, 29, of 53 Pond St., Newton, N.H., and Seth Sanford, 30, originally of 2 Ridgefield Road, Merrimac, but now living in Miami, Fla., tried to persuade Doyle not only to reduce the charges against the men, but also reverse Judge Allen Swan's July 21 ruling to keep the men in jail without bail because of the threat they pose to the public.
Larson, a full-time police officer in East Kingston, N.H., and part-time and reserve officer in Merrimac and Newburyport, respectively, and Sanford, a high-school teacher in Florida's Dade County, are both charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (their shod feet) and aggravated assault and battery. The charges stem from a fight on July 18 that left the victim, Christopher MacRae, 23, of Haverhill lying unconscious at the Salisbury Beach Municipal Parking Lot.
When police found MacRae injured in a pool of his own blood around 11 p.m., he was airlifted to a Boston hospital.
At yesterday's hearing, Sanford's attorney, John Valerio, and Larson's attorney, Christopher Holland, told Doyle the reality of what happened on July 18 does not rise to the level of aggravated assault and battery. Because of the seriousness of that felony charge, the defendants would be tried in Superior Court and would be removed from the jurisdiction of Newburyport District Court.
The defendants' attorneys said the victim is now out of the hospital without lasting effects from his injuries due to the beating, in spite of the cast MacRae wears on his hand — which they claimed was caused when the victim hit Sanford.