PITTSFIELD — A Pittsfield man accused of assaulting his neighbor on Tuesday night is free on personal recognizance after a judge declined the prosecution's request to hold him without the right to bail.
Stephen White, 49, is facing assault and other charges in the incident with a neighbor at his Wahconah Street residence.
White allegedly forced his way into the man's apartment around 11 p.m. after banging on the door and announcing he wanted to "fight him," the man told police. Once inside, he damaged items and "choked [the man] around the neck" to the point that he couldn't breathe.
When police arrived, officers said, White appeared intoxicated and had trouble standing, and said he wanted to kill the man.
At the police station, he began banging his head on the booking room floor, police said. He was taken by ambulance to Berkshire Medical Center, where he was treated for a cut to his forehead.
During a dangerousness hearing Wednesday, Assistant District Attorney Dillian Hecht asked the court to hold White for 120 days without the right to bail, claiming his actions proved he was a danger to the public.
He cited previous violent incidents on White's lengthy criminal history, and said he didn't believe the incident was a "random violent act."
"He was in his apartment drinking and suddenly left to go into another apartment and attack the resident there," he said.
And he said the incident at the police station "raises some concerns that there may be something wrong with this particular defendant."
But the defendant's attorney, Robert Sullivan said, "I would suggest that a lot of the ammunition the commonwealth brought to the table today is a bit remote. A lot of it is old."
When asked if White would be willing to undergo a psychological evaluation regarding the head-banging incident, Sullivan said, "I've had a lot of experience with him in the past and nothing has come to my attention to suggest there is a mental health component."
White pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court to single counts of unarmed burglary and assault; assault and battery, strangulation or suffocation; and vandalizing property.
District Court Judge Jennifer Tyne released him on the condition that he have no contact with the victim. White told the court he plans to move to another apartment next month.
A pretrial hearing is scheduled for July 29.
Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at email@example.com.