Haverhill man charged with attacking mother, daughter, still at Bridgewater

Jake Kavanaugh

SALEM, Mass. — A Haverhill man accused of attacking a pregnant woman and her mother six months ago remains hospitalized and his criminal case has been continued until this fall. 

Jake Kavanaugh, 23, remains held without bail at Bridgewater State Hospital, where he was sent for a mental health evaluation after his initial arraignment in Haverhill District Court.

On March 3, Kavanaugh drove his car into Janet Blanchard, 54, and her pregnant daughter, Geena Sindoni, 26, while the women were out walking near the Haverhill-Salem, N.H. line, police said.

Kavanaugh then attacked Blanchard with a box cutter, police said.

Both women were critically injured but survived the attack.

Kavanaugh is charged with a host of violent crimes, including armed assault to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, mayhem, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

He was later indicted by the Essex County grand jury and arraigned in Superior Court, where the penalties he faces if convicted could be more severe.

Following his indictment, a hearing to determine if Kavanaugh is a danger to himself or the community was planned but has not yet been held, according to court records.

On Wednesday, during a brief hearing in superior court, Kavanaugh's attorney said he remains at Bridgewater State Hospital. The hearing was scheduled to review the status of the case. 

Also, court documents show motions for funds for a psychiatrist and to allow a "video recording of a psychiatric evaluation for a defense expert," have both been allowed by a judge in the case. 

A superior court judge in June said Kavanaugh was not mentally competent to stand trial at this time. However, that status may or may not change in the future. Additional reports regarding competency can be filed at future dates as the case moves toward a trial, according to state law.

His next scheduled court date is Oct. 1. 

According to police reports, on March 3 the victims were walking Blanchard’s French bulldog, Roxie, and Sindoni’s Rottweiler-German shepherd, Riley, when a car driven by Kavanaugh struck Blanchard twice.

Sindoni, who was five months pregnant at the time, was able to run into the woods to nearby Salem, N.H., to find help, police said.

After the crash, Kavanaugh stepped out of the car and used a box cutter to attack Blanchard, stabbing her neck and eyes, a police report states.

Kavanaugh ignored commands and his hands and forearms were covered with blood, according to the first officer on the scene.

He glared at the officer with a "1,000 yard stare," a police report states, meaning he had a look of being emotionally far away.

Police said they later questioned Kavanaugh at Holy Family Hospital in Haverhill, but he would not answer or explain what happened.

His only statement was, "It's not going to matter," according to the report.

Kavanaugh was driving a 2007 Audi A6 sedan registered to his father, Thomas Kavanaugh, according to police. Jake Kavanaugh had a valid driver’s license.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.

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