No bail for North Adams man charged with putting partner in coma

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NORTH ADAMS — A man accused of beating his spouse and fracturing her skull, requiring her to be put into a medically induced coma, was ordered held without bail Wednesday after being found too dangerous to be released.

Judge William Rota said the state had presented an "overwhelming case," to keep 42-year-old Michael Cook in custody.

Cook has been charged with assault and battery on a family or household member, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury and assault to murder.

He was arrested early July 11 after he called 911 and asked for an ambulance to be sent to his Chase Avenue home.

"I did something I wasn't supposed to," Cook told them.

According to court papers obtained by The Eagle, Cook told police he'd "snapped" over a personal matter and "bashed her head in."

Police found Cook's spouse unconscious and bleeding from a head wound. She was taken to Berkshire Medical Center and later transferred to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, where she underwent what was described as life-saving surgery. The woman was unresponsive and in a coma and breathing with mechanical assistance, according to a police report.

An update on her condition was not immediately available Wednesday.

Cook was arraigned last week and held pending Wednesday's hearing before Rota in Northern Berkshire District Court.

In arguing to keep Cook held without bail, Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Megan Tesoniero noted his 13-page criminal record, which she said shows he has been committing serious and assaultive crimes since at least 1995.

That record includes a conviction on counts of child rape and indecent assault and battery on a person under 14 for assaulting a 9-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl and forcing the two to engage in sex acts while he watched, according to Tesoniero.

He was sentenced to up to seven years in prison for those crimes.

Tesoniero also made mention of Cook's "controlling and violent tendencies," and his 11 convictions for violating a restraining order as well as other instances of violent assaults.

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Tesoniero said it wasn't just domestic partners Cook has assaulted in the past, but mere acquaintances and police officers as well.

Cook was convicted of violating a restraining order and assault and battery on a police officer when he punched and strangled an officer who was serving him with a restraining order.

In another case, Cook was again convicted of violating a restraining order as well as assault and battery after beating a woman he was in a relationship with while three children were present in the room.

Cook was also convicted of aggravated assault and battery for punching a woman in the face and breaking her jaw, Tesoniero said.

When police first arrived at Cook's home Thursday morning, evidence suggested the woman's head may have been struck against a bedroom dresser.

A subsequent search of the home, conducted after obtaining a warrant, found a hammer under a living room couch. Tesoniero said that item will be tested to see if it was somehow used in the assault.

Tesoniero said Cook was a "perfect example" of what the state's dangerousness statute was designed handle.

Cook's attorney, Joanna Arkema, asked permission from the court to have her client seated with her at a table in the courtroom, a standard request during dangerousness hearings.

After consulting with court security, that request was denied and Arkema and Cook participated in the hearing from the prisoner holding area in the courtroom.

In arguing against holding Cook without bail, Arkema noted that Cook's last conviction was in 2008, that a 2016 case against him was dismissed and that he abided by a 2016 restraining order while it was open against him.

Cook was ordered held without the right the bail until Nov. 8, at which point the matter of bail will likely be re-addressed.

A pretrial hearing in the case was set for Aug. 9.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@berkshireeagle.com, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.


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