NEWBURYPORT — Two New Hampshire men were sentenced to 30 days in jail Friday at Newburyport District Court after admitting they attacked and injured a Coltin Drive man looking for his dog last year.
Patrick Signer, 29, of Dover, and Anthony Goss, 29, of Weare, New Hampshire, were charged with assault and battery of person over 60 or disabled with injury. Goss was also charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (his foot) after admitting he kicked the 65-year-old victim.
Both men pleaded guilty to the charges and were sentenced to 2 1/2 years in jail with all but the 30 days suspended for two years while on probation. Signer and Goss also paid $2,760 each to cover the victim’s uncovered medical expenses and attorney fees.
However, Signer and Goss left the courthouse free men after receiving permission to begin their sentences on Jan. 7. Judge William Martin warned them that if they did not turn themselves in on that date, they risked being thrown in jail for their full sentences.
Martin’s decision to grant the requests to serve their sentences after the holidays drew an objection from Essex County prosecutor Michelle Belmonte.
Attorneys for Signer and Goss framed the requests as ensuring the men could secure their jobs before serving their time.
Prior to sentencing, Belmonte described to Martin how Goss punched the victim in the face right before Signer tackled him to the ground. Goss then repeatedly kicked the victim while on the ground. The victim lost a tooth, suffered a black eye and had cuts and bruises to his arms and legs.
After the victim reported the attack to police, Signer and Goss went to court and filed civil complaints against the victim in an act that Belmonte called “nothing short of retaliation.”
A clerk magistrate declined to pursue the civil complaints against the victim, Belmonte added.
Even with medical insurance, the victim had to pay more than $4,000 in out-of-pocket expenses. He also spent more than $1,000 in fees after hiring an attorney to potentially defend himself against the civil complaints, according to Belmonte.
Signer and Ross’ attorneys argued that it was the victim who provoked the confrontation and that they only drove up to him to help find his dog. However, they both said their clients were deeply sorry for their actions.
Officer Joshua Tierney responded to Coltin Drive around 7:50 p.m. on July, 4, 2020, to speak to the victim who had been attacked and injured by two men attending a Fourth of July party next door. During the party, his neighbors were repeatedly shooting off fireworks, some of which landed on his property. Another barrage made his small dog bolt from the house and into woods between Coltin Drive and Hale Street.
Holding a dog leash and collar, the victim began walking east on Coltin Drive hoping to find his dog. As he was walking, Signer drove up to him and they began arguing.
“(The victim) stated Mr. Goss exited the passenger side of the vehicle and punched him in the face. He stated Mr. Signer tackled him to the ground and put him in a head lock. He stated Mr. Goss’ punch knocked out a tooth, which we later recovered,” Tierney wrote in his report, adding Goss also kicked the victim while subdued by Signer.
While walking back to his home, women from where the party was taking place approached him and called him a (expletive) Newburyport yuppy (expletive),” Tierney added in his report.
Signer and Goss admitted to Tierney the three of them had gotten into an argument. But it was the victim who started the fight by throwing the leash and collar at the truck. Goss went on to say that it was the victim who started the violence and punched him in the face.
“Both Mr. Goss and Mr. Signer stated that prior to the altercation they drove to the location in order to assist (the victim) with locating his dog,” Tierney wrote in his report.
However, two witnesses to the melee backed the victim’s story leading Tierney to report that Signer and Goss “were the primary aggressors.”
“I believe (the victim) was in no way a threat to their safety. Mr. Signer and Mr. Goss outnumbered (the victim) two-to-one, and (the victim) is 65 years old,” Tierney said.
Dave Rogers is a reporter with the Daily News of Newburyport. Email him at: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.