Father gets jail for biting infant daughter, pregnant girlfriend
PITTSFIELD -- A 20-year-old father was sent to jail for 18 months on Thursday after admitting he bit his infant daughter and his pregnant girlfriend in separate incidents last year.
In a Jury of Six session of Central Berkshire District Court, Robert Russell Jr. appeared unfazed as the judge sentenced him to serve his sentence at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction on two counts each of aggravated assault and battery and witness intimidation and a single count of assault and battery on a child with injury.
Russell bit his months-old daughter at least once in February 2012 and possibly a number of times, based on the number of marks in various stages of healing that family members reported seeing on the baby, according to prosecutor Mary-Elizabeth Mack.
In April 2012, Russell beat up on his 18-year-old girlfriend who was two months pregnant at the time, according to police. A friend of the woman secretly recorded the attack with her cell phone, which showed Russell biting his girlfriend twice on the face, squeezing her and pushing her, said police.
Russell later threatened the friend and her sister, telling them that if they went "to the cops," he was "gonna get" them.
Russell's attorney, Joseph G. Vosit, said his client suffers from mental health problems. A court clinician determined Russell was criminally responsible and competent to stand trial.
Mack said that while Russell only had a minimal record, the seriousness of the crimes warranted the jail sentence.
Judge Paul M. Vrabel sentenced Russell in line with the joint recommendation between the DA's office and Vosit.
Russell had already served 78 days of his sentence after his bail was revoked in December when it was learned he had been living on-and-off with his girlfriend, who the court ordered him to stay away from.
The woman, who has since given birth to the couple's second child, refused to give a statement to police and did not cooperate with prosecutors, according to Mack.
The outcome of an investigation by the state Department of Children & Families is not publicly available. Agency spokeswoman Cayenne Isaksen said any information related to these investigations is confidential, as are any "parameters" set for family members as a result of an investigation.
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