By Lisa Redmond
AYER — A Townsend man charged with beating his wife has been ordered held without bail after a District Court judge found him to be a danger to society.
But the attorney representing Kevin Hamel, 42, accused of beating and trying to strangle his wife in front of their 2-year-old daughter, said it is “outrageous” that prosecutors are moving ahead with the case even though his client’s wife has refused to testify against her husband.
Before Hamel’s dangerousness hearing in Ayer District Court on Feb. 10, defense attorney Roland Milliard argued that Gabriella Hamel told him she will exercise her marital privilege and not testify against her husband.
“She is the only witness,” Milliard told Judge Martine Carroll. “Without her, the prosecution doesn’t have a case.”‘
Prosecutor Christina Lucci said the Middlesex district attorney’s office intends to present the case to a grand jury, with or without Hamel’s wife.
“She doesn’t say it didn’t happen. She just doesn’t want to testify,” Lucci said.
Before the dangerousness hearing began, Gabriela Hamel was granted a one-year restraining order against her husband.
Lucci said the district attorney’s office has Gabriela Hamel’s statement she gave to police after the alleged assault Saturday in the couple’s Ball Road home.
At the dangerousness hearing, Townsend police dispatcher Andrea Deschene testified that she answered the 911 call of a “hysterical” Gabriela Hamel asking for help, saying her husband “is going to kill me and my baby…He is very dangerous.”
Townsend police Officer Randy Girard provided photographs of the marks on Gabriela Hamel’s neck where she alleges her intoxicated husband choked her as he pounded her head against the kitchen floor. The beating stopped, she told police, when the couple’s 2-year-old daughter walked into the kitchen and yelled at her father, “What are you doing to my mommy?” Girard testified.
Townsend police state in court documents that they received a call from Hamel’s wife on Sunday that her husband was in the garage, where he keeps his firearms, and that she and her daughter were in a bedroom in their house. She told police she feared leaving because she said her husband threatened to kill her if she left or called the police.
After Hamel was arrested, police seized a shotgun, a .22-caliber rifle and a pellet gun from a safe in the garage next to the Hamels’ home. The weapons were loaded and none had trigger locks. Police also found a bucket of ammunition. Hamel does not have a license for the weapons or ammunition, police said.
Hamel pleaded innocent on Feb. 7 to several charges: assault with intent to murder, assault to rape, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, illegal possession of a firearm, reckless endangerment of a child, intimidation and threats.
In arguing that Hamel should be held without bail as a danger, Lucci noted his record. Lucci said that while having no convictions, he was involved in a similar incident in Fitchburg in 2006. No probable cause was found to bring charges in that case.
In the past, Lucci said, three other women have sought multiple restraining orders against Hamel dating to the 1990s.
The judge found Hamel to be a danger to society and to the alleged victim, ordering him held without bail.
A Feb. 24 date was set for a probable-cause hearing and a motion to dismiss the charges. Milliard said he may seek an appeal of Carroll’s decision to a higher court.