BRENTWOOD, N.H. — A Massachusetts state trooper charged with assaulting his girlfriend has been denied bail by a New Hampshire judge following a hearing that spanned two days in court last week.
Sgt. Bryan Erickson, 38, of Groveland remains behind bars in New Hampshire after his Jan. 31 arrest. He is charged with domestic violence strangulation, domestic second-degree and simple assault, obstructing report of a crime, disobeying an officer, criminal trespass and reckless operation.
Erickson, a trooper for the past 10 years and a former Marine, was charged after an incident involving the 29-year-old woman in Exeter, New Hampshire, according to a police report.
A bail hearing was held virtually over WebEx on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 11 and 12.
On Tuesday morning, Judge Martin Honinburg ruled "there is clear and convincing evidence" of Erickson's dangerousness and that there were no conditions that would allow Erickson to be released on bail.
Honingberg issued a preventative detention bail order that would remain in place as Erickson awaits trial.
The judge's order does acknowledge Erickson denies the charges. However, the judge pointed to a "lengthy text message exchange that preceded the events in question" which showed Erickson "wanted to control the actions and manipulate the emotions of the alleged victim."
A police affidavit says that during an argument on Jan. 31, Erickson took his girlfriend's cell phone and threw her on a bed. He “wrapped her arms around her on the bed and knelt on her upper thigh area so that she could barely breathe and could not move" and “put his hand on her neck and one of his fingers down her throat" to stop her from screaming, according to the affidavit.
Erickson is also accused of head-butting the woman twice, according to court papers.
Police said they responded to a 911 hang-up call at a house in Exeter and found Erickson in the garage. Police said he drove away at about 80 mph. Erickson was arrested at his home in Groveland.
During the bail hearing, Erickson's defense attorney Hank Brennan argued the trooper could be released on bail, with conditions including GPS monitoring if the court felt that was necessary. Brennan also said Erickson could rent a place to live in New Hampshire, under supervision, and seek counseling possibly through the Veterans Administration or another service.
Brennan also argued investigators did not provide photos showing the victim suffered marks from a beating, but rather just "light scratches" on the woman's hands.
"There was no brutal assault here,'' Brennan said Friday. "There was no beating here."
Brennan declined to comment on the bail order released Tuesday morning.
Brennan previously described the girlfriend as being angry because she and Erickson had broken up.
Erickson's wife also applied for a harassment prevention order against the girlfriend in October 2020 after an incident at their Groveland home. The couple has two small children, according to court documents. The woman showed up there at 12:55 a.m., demanding to speak with Erickson's wife and asking to show her something on her phone, according to a report the wife filed with Groveland police.
The wife told the woman, who appeared to have been drinking, to leave the property. Groveland police allowed the woman to call someone for a ride and for someone to drive her vehicle home, according to court papers.
Erickson has been suspended indefinitely from the State Police following a duty status hearing. Massachusetts State Police will continue an investigation into the matter and monitor Erickson's prosecution in New Hampshire, said David Procopio, State Police spokesperson.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.