KEITH WHITCOMB JR., Staff Writer
Posted: 05/22/2009 03:00:54 AM EDT
After a weight of evidence hearing in Bennington District Court on Wednesday, a Shaftsbury man was ordered held on $75,000 bail. Previously, he had been held without bail.
Richard A. Bynum, 41, pleaded not guilty last week to aggravated domestic assault. According to police, Bynum assaulted his fiancee Jan. 17 and fled to Springfield, Mass., while having a warrant out for his arrest. Bynum turned himself in voluntarily last week.
Bynum’s alleged victim testified that she was extremely upset when she made her statements to police, and some details were not accurate. She told the court she and Bynum had gone to sleep after he had taken a new medication and consumed a minor amount of alcohol. She said Bynum woke up to go to the bathroom, and when he came back he began yelling at her incoherently.
Bynum’s alleged victim told the court he did pull her hair, slap her face and hold his hands over her mouth, as she originally said in her statements to police. She said she had mistakenly told police she had her and Bynum’s baby in her arms when Bynum assaulted her.
“I didn’t have the baby at any point when he was hitting me,” she said, adding she was in shock when she wrote her statement.
She said Bynum has been prescribed pain medication for a knee operation, and medication for depression. She corroborated her original statements to police that Bynum has never been violent before, and on the night of the incident, didn’t seem like himself. “The way he was acting, it was like he was possessed,” she said. “I’ve never been afraid of him before, and I’m not afraid of him now.”
She said she had contact with Bynum a number of times over the telephone and tried to convince him to turn himself in. She said Bynum said he was scared and believed he would be charged with attempted murder.
Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Munson said the state does not find the alleged victim’s recantation credible. He said Bynum knew police were looking for him, and it took him four months to turn himself in. He said Bynum also has pending marijuana sale and possession charges stemming from an incident that occurred shortly before the alleged assault on Jan. 17.
Defense Attorney Chris Montgomery said Bynum, while having a criminal history, does not have a history of violence. He said that on the occasions he has had contact with his alleged victim, he has not been violent, nor has he made threats. Montgomery said Bynum’s prior convictions show that he is someone who keeps his court dates, aside from the latest incident.
Montgomery submitted documents to the court, indicating Bynum contacted his doctor and therapist two days after the incident, asking about the medications he was taking. Judge John Wesley said the documents could not be submitted as exhibits, but could be considered by the court.
Wesley said Bynum poses a flight risk, and ruled that if bail was posted, Bynum could not have contact with his alleged victim or the child. Bynum is also not allowed contact with them while in prison. If bail is posted, he is also prohibited from consuming alcohol, or using drugs.