Pittsfield man held on 2011 abuse charge


PITTSFIELD -- A city man was ordered held on $15,000 bail bond on Wednesday in connection with a 2011 domestic abuse case in which a woman was severely beaten.

According to the lawyer for 40-year-old Patrick M. Canal, his client was unaware of the charges against him until recently and came back from Georgia by train to deal with the case.

On Wednesday, Canal was arraigned in Central Berkshire District Court and pleaded not guilty to three counts of aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and single counts of aggravated assault and battery and witness intimidation.

Attorney John A. Bernardo said Canal was never notified of the warrant for his arrest, which had been issued in the nearly two-year-old case.

Police said that on March 20, 2011, Canal, angry with his then-girlfriend over a text message she had received from a man, threw her to the ground, beat her head on the floor, kicked and stomped on her, and hit her with a bottle.

When the 49-year-old woman attempted to call 911, Canal told the operator there was nothing wrong while the woman shouted for help in the background and then fled, Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Mary-Elizabeth Mack told the court on Wednesday.

Canal later attempted to hide evidence, according to the prosecutor. Police said they found Canal's bloody jacket and a bloody bath mat in a garbage bin near the Beaumont Drive residence where the beating allegedly took place.

The woman was treated at Berkshire Medical Center for fractures to the side of her spine, a laceration to her head that required staples, stitches in her mouth and other injuries. She has since left the area.

On Wednesday, Bernardo asked that Canal be released on personal recognizance and be allowed to return to Georgia, where he lives with family, until his next court appearance.

Judge Paul M. Vrabel ordered Canal held in jail in lieu of $1,500 cash or $15,000 bond. The judge said he would have made the bail amount higher, but took into consideration that Canal returned of his own accord to face the charges.

The defendant is scheduled to be back in court next Month.

Mack said they may consider seeking an indictment in the case, which would allow the prosecutor to ask for a state prison sentence, rather than county jail time.


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