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Pittsfield man charged in domestic violence case released with conditions

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PITTSFIELD — A city man has been allowed to spend the pretrial phase of his domestic violence cases at home.

Maurice Lee, 34, of Pittsfield, was released from pretrial custody with a number of conditions following a lengthy dangerousness hearing last week in Central Berkshire District Court.

He has pleaded not guilty charges of assault and battery on a family or household member, strangulation or suffocation and threatening to commit murder.

Lee is accused of allegedly punching the woman in the face on Saturday and choking her with her necklace on Jan. 1.

Arguing for Lee’s pretrial detention, Assistant District Attorney R. Talmadge Reeves said Lee is a “habitual domestic abuser,” and said his record included four past restraining orders being taken out against him.

Additionally, Reeves said Lee had been a defendant in previous criminal cases before he picked up the “very serious” present charge of strangulation, the “lethality factor” of which he said is “incredibly high.”

Reeves submitted to the court jailhouse recordings that he said demonstrate that Lee attempted to have others speak with the named victim to have “her possibly alter her story or change it in some way.”

Defense attorney Ryan Smith sought to raise questions about the victim’s credibility during the Jan. 12 hearing before Judge Paul Smyth.

Under questioning by Smith, Lee’s mother also said that Lee has a serious heart condition that requires a life-saving medical device.

She testified that she saw Lee’s behavior improve and him become a “completely different person” over the summer due to a medical scare. She added that she will allow Lee to live with her, and monitor him, during the pretrial phase of his criminal cases.

Crediting the testimony of the defense witnesses, Smyth said there are conditions that could be imposed on Lee in order to release him from pretrial custody while maintaining the safety of the community and the victim in the case.

He ordered Lee to wear a GPS monitoring device, remain at his mother’s home in New York, not to commit any crimes, to maintain or seek employment, to have no contact with the victim and to avoid alcohol and unprescribed drugs.

On Tuesday, a judge denied a request from probation officials seeking to detain Lee without the right to bail on another open case out of Southern Berkshire District Court, where Lee is charged with assault and battery on a family or household member and witness intimidation.

Amanda Burke can be reached at aburke@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6296.

Cops and Courts Reporter

Amanda Burke is Cops and Courts Reporter for The Berkshire Eagle. An Ithaca, New York native, she previously worked at The Herald News of Fall River and the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise.

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