SALEM, Mass. — A Lawrence man who police say attacked and threatened his estranged wife's boyfriend with a 3-foot-long pickax in February still is being held without bail at Middleton Jail.
John Moffat, 42, of 95 Greenfield St., was indicted dby the Essex County grand jury on charges of armed home invasion, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery, violating a protective restraining order and witness intimidation, according to court records.
The charges stem from an incident at 4:09 a.m., Feb. 9, at his estranged wife's residence in Lawrence. The woman and her boyfriend were awakened by a loud bang and a door being forced open, according to a police report.
The boyfriend then encountered Moffat at the top of the stairs with the pickax in his hands, police said.
The indictments means Moffat's case will be transferred to Salem Superior Court, where the charges he faces if convicted will be more severe.
Moffat was arraigned in Salem Superior Court on Wednesday. Judge Jeffrey Karp deemed him a danger and ordered him to remain held without bail.
According to a Lawrence police report, officers who responded to the woman's residence that morning found her boyfriend with Moffat "pinned down on a landing between the first and second floor."
Officers handcuffed Moffat and noted the door frame nearby "was broken and the door had been forced open."
The boyfriend told police Moffat had threatened him earlier in the day on social media and he also heard he was going to get a gun and shoot him, according to the report.
Everyone had been asleep when the boyfriend "heard a loud bang from the door being forced open."
The boyfriend said he immediately saw Moffat at the top of the stairs with the pickax in this hand, according to police.
"Seeing the weapon could cause immediate danger or death," the boyfriend "immediately engaged Moffat."
The two fell backward down the stairs onto a landing, where the boyfriend was able to "subdue Moffat until we arrived," the police report said.
During the struggle, Moffat bit the boyfriend's hand, according to the report.
"During the struggle Moffat dropped the pickax and it slid down the stairs," the report states.
With police officers present, Moffat threatened the boyfriend further saying, "when I get out I'm going to come back and kill you," according to the report.
After the alleged attack, the woman told police she and Moffat were estranged for six months and she had a restraining order against him.
"Moffat forcibly entered the dwelling armed with the pick, knowing that the parties would be home, and I believe his intent was to harm (the boyfriend) with the pick," an officer wrote.
He is next scheduled to appear in Superior Court on Sept. 6 for a pre-trial hearing.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.