PITTSFIELD — A North Adams man charged with severely beating his wife has been ordered to remain held without the right to bail.
Michael Cook, 42, also has been barred from contacting the victim while he is in custody.
During a dangerousness hearing on Monday, Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Megan Tesoniero said Cook has already contacted at least one member of the victim's family via letter while he was in the Berkshire Jail and House of Correction. In adopting the motion, Judge John Agostini said his concern was for Cook, who, if not restricted from making contact, could do so and leave himself open for a felony charge of witness intimidation.
Agostini said the threshold for establishing enough probable cause for such a charge is very low.
Cook told police that he "snapped" over a personal dispute with his wife and "bashed her head in" in their Chase Avenue home on July 11. The assault left the woman in a coma.
Based on the state of the room, police believe the woman's head was struck against a bedroom dresser, according to a police report.
The victim's condition has improved, but she remains hospitalized as a result of her injuries, according to the Berkshire District Attorney's Office. Her prognosis was unclear.
Cook has pleaded not guilty to charges of assault to murder, aggravated assault and battery, assault and battery on a family or household member and armed assault to murder.
A pretrial hearing in the case was set for Jan. 30.
A check of Cook's criminal history dating to 1995 — it was included in court documents obtained by The Eagle — shows dozens of counts, including multiple charges of child rape, indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, inducing a minor for sex, and aggravated assault and battery. A dozen restraining orders have been taken out against him, according to a police report.
He was released from prison in 2015, after serving five years of a seven-year term for three counts of rape of a child with force and one count of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.
"[Cook] shows a propensity towards sexual and physical violence and a predatory lifestyle going back over 20 years," according to police.
Bob Dunn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.
The defendant's last name is Cook. Incorrect names were orginally published Monday.