PITTSFIELD -- A Pittsfield man accused of beating and choking his girlfriend and threatening to kill her was released from custody on Monday after a judge rejected a prosecutor's request to hold him without bail.
Edwin David Torres, 34, of Burbank Street, allegedly slammed his girlfriend's head into a wall, threw a steel-toed boot at her head, slapped her, then choked her while threatening to kill her on Saturday after an argument the couple was having turned violent, according to Assistant District Attorney Andrew Giarolo.
While Torres was choking her, his girlfriend said he told her "I'm going to kill you several times", along with "I will hang myself," according to the police report.
Torres was arrested on Saturday after the victim's parents called police to report a past domestic assault. The victim told police that she didn't call earlier because Torres had threatened to kill her if she did, according to the police report.
Giarolo said Torres currently has an open domestic assault case involving the same victim that occurred when another verbal argument between the two turned physical. She obtained a restraining order against Torres in November that expires in May, according to court documents.
Prosecutors filed a motion asking the court to rule that Torres be legally considered a dangerous person, which means he could be held for up to 90 days without the right to bail.
"This behavior is now escalating," Giarolo said. "I don't have to tell you that strangling is a precursor to much more in the domestic violence arena."
Attorney Julia Alling, who represented Torres, said the case was based on hearsay.
Torres pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court on Monday to single counts of assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, intimidating a witness and the violation of an abuse prevention order.
District Court Judge Fredric D. Rutberg released Torres on personal recognizance under the condition that he have no direct or indirect contact with his girlfriend, immediately vacate the residence that they share, and provide his new address to the probation department. Torres told the court that he has other places to live.
A pretrial hearing is scheduled for March 24.