EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 3, 2012

Judge sets bail for McMackin at $250

LAWRENCE — A Methuen man accused of hitting his girlfriend had his bail set yesterday at $250, far below the state’s recommendation of $10,000.

James R. McMackin, III, 30, 605 Lowell St., Methuen, was arraigned yesterday on one count of assault and battery. Carrie Kimball-Monahan, a spokeswoman for Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, said prosecutors recommended a $10,000 bail for McMackin, who had been charged with beating the woman several times in the past, though never convicted.

However, Judge Michael Brooks set bail at $250 and attached a bail warning, meaning if he violates any of the terms of his release, he could be jailed for up to 60 days without bail.

McMackin was arrested Sunday morning after police responded to a 911 call, Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon said. Police said McMackin refused to leave the home and grabbed his girlfriend’s wrists as she tried to leave and pushed her.

She requested a restraining order against McMackin on Sunday, which an on-call judge issued that day, Solomon said.

The woman, Sarah Plazola, 33, was beaten nearly to death in her home on July 10 and was flown for medical treatment to Boston, where she remained in a medically induced coma for six days. Solomon said she “absolutely could have died from her injuries.”

McMackin was not charged in the July 10 incident, but Solomon said it is still being investigated. Police removed evidence from the home, including blood and fingerprints, in July.

However, McMackin was arrested later on July 10 on a warrant for failing to pay $260 from a March 2011 case of domestic assault and battery against his girlfriend, as well as intimidating a witness and larceny.

In the March 2011 case, the woman told police that an argument had gotten out of control and McMackin threw her to the floor, broke a silver chain she was wearing, and tried to take a cordless phone from her. Those charges were dismissed because a witness did not appear in court, though McMackin was assessed a counsel fee and several default warrant fees totaling $260, court records show.

McMackin also was arrested twice within several hours in December 2011 on assault and battery charges following two arguments with his girlfriend, according to police and court documents. All those charges were dismissed on Feb. 1 because a witness failed to appear, according to court documents.

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