Barre man charged with aggravated domestic assault
BARRE — A Granite City man is being held without bail after an incident early New Year’s Day during which he allegedly strangled a woman and told her he was going to kill her.
Kenneth M. Rollins, 37, pleaded not guilty to aggravated domestic assault, a felony, in Washington County criminal court in Barre on Wednesday. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 15 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
According to the police affidavit, the woman called 911 shortly after midnight saying Rollins was strangling her. An officer who arrived at the residence said Rollins saw him and braced his body against the door to keep the officer out. The officer said he saw the woman on the phone, hysterical, and kicked the door several times to get in. Once the officer was inside, he said, Rollins tensed up and took a step toward the woman, prompting the officer to immobilize Rollins with pepper spray.
Rollins was then taken into custody and subjected to a breath test, registering a blood alcohol content of 0.119 percent.
The woman told police she and Rollins were having an argument when Rollins choked her to the point that she passed out, according to the affidavit. Rollins also told her he was going to kill her, it said.
Police said the woman was hesitant to talk about the incident because she was afraid of what Rollins would do to her. She was also afraid of Rollins’ family saying that if anything happened to him then she would get “beat up by them,” according to the affidavit.
Three children were staying at the residence. One of the children told police she heard Rollins and the woman arguing, then heard Rollins say, “You put your hands on me one more time and I’m going to slam your head into the wall.”
In court Wednesday, Deputy State’s Attorney Jason Hart said Rollins should be held without bail because he didn’t believe any conditions the court could impose on Rollins would keep the woman safe.
Hart said the woman told his office that Rollins had said as much to her, commenting about restraining orders: “I would just tear it up and I would be here and you would regret it.”
Rollins’ attorney, Rosie Chase, argued against her client being held without bail, saying the alleged victim had not gotten an abuse prevention order against Rollins. Chase said that would be the normal way a person would go about protecting herself from someone.
Judge Thomas Zonay said, “If you believe what the state says the testimony (of the alleged victim) would be, (filing for an abuse prevention order) goes directly against that. Why would someone apply for a relief of abuse if the person they are seeking it against has threatened them that a piece of paper isn’t going to stop them?”
Chase countered by asking, “Well, why wouldn’t you (apply for an abuse prevention order)? It’s an added protection.”
Zonay said the statements Rollins is alleged to have made about not caring about court orders, and the evidence against him about the alleged assault, show that Rollins posed a substantial threat of violence and no conditions could prevent that violence. He said the “callousness” of Rollins trying to keep the police from entering the residence showed a disregard for law enforcement. Taking those factors into consideration, Zonay ordered Rollins held without bail.
Zonay said that since Rollins is now being held without bail, the state by law now has 60 days to bring the case to trial, barring any continuances requested by Rollins’ attorney. Otherwise, Rollins would have to be released with conditions.
Rollins has convictions for driving under the influence in April and disorderly conduct in 2003.
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