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Waltham man's defense focuses on his 'intent': Admits to beating girlfriend but without premeditation

CAMBRIDGE -- James Smith's attorney admits the Waltham man beat and disfigured his ex-girlfriend in a jealous rage last year, but claims the attack was not premeditated.

Defense attorney Keith Halpern said his client, "is ready to go to jail for what he did," but does not believe he should be found guilty of mayhem.

"He did it. He admits he did it," Halpern told the 14-person Middlesex Superior Court jury during his opening statement yesterday before Judge Charles Grabau.

He said he wants the jury to be so outraged by what Smith did that they will disregard the mayhem charge.

"In a mayhem case, one component is specific, deliberate intent," Halpern said. "There is no evidence of it."

Prosecutor Nathaniel Yeager outlined to jurors a relationship fraught with jealousy and violence.

In court yesterday, the victim, Kristen Haggie, answering Halpern, said "it is fair to say (Smith) didn't have time to think about what he did" when he grabbed her, but she believes he had an idea once he started throwing punches.

"For a man his size and for a woman my size...yes, I do believe his intentions were to break my face," she said. "I couldn't move, I couldn't react. I couldn't defend myself at all."

Smith is charged with mayhem, assault and battery causing serious bodily injury, threats to commit a crime, intimidation of a witness and use of a motor vehicle without authority.

The jury, chosen during a more than three-hour session yesterday, consists of six men and eight women. Twelve will deliberate when testimony concludes.

Haggie said Smith grabbed her by the hair, pushed her up against a wall and punched her in the face three times before she blacked out and he ran from their Calvary Street home the night of Nov. 19, 2003.

Her mother, Barbara, and the couple's 5-year-old son slept in nearby rooms. Haggie's 9-year-old son, fathered by another man, was spending the night away from home.

Haggie, 30, said she had gone to visit two girlfriends in Newton before meeting her brother George at the Sons of Italy in Newton for a beer. She said she left Smith, whom she always called Jimmy, to care for their son.

When she returned home between 11 p.m. and midnight, she said Smith was agitated and demanded to know where she had been.

She said she refused to tell him, which is when he attacked her.

"He had me by the back of my hair and pinned against the wall so I couldn't move," Haggie said. "There were no seconds. Bang, bang, bang, he hammered me."

She said she saw and felt Smith's first two punches, but could only feel the third.

"I was in a lot of pain. I was dazed, I was confused," she said. "The next thing I remember is the police officer in my house. My teeth were falling out of my mouth as I was talking to him."

Haggie was taken to St. Elizabeth's in Brighton by ambulance after the attack and was soon transferred to Beth Israel.

She said she couldn't talk for days and was forced to eat through a feeding tube.

Haggie suffered a broken jaw and nose, a split upper lip and a broken upper palate in her mouth in the attack. Her lip was torn almost to the base of her nose, Yeager told jurors.

Halpern argues that Haggie told EMTs, a nurse and a doctor that Smith hit her once. He said Haggie's story keeps changing to exaggerate what happened in order to make Smith appear more culpable.

Haggie said she does not remember calling 911, but the tape, which Halpern referred to as "horrifying" in his opening statement, was played in the courtroom yesterday.

She was crying on the tape, but sat strong and stone-faced in court. She looked at Smith when she spoke, a scar above her upper lip, dentures and a missing bone in her mouth the only evidence of the brutal beating.

Sgt. John Brooks said it took less than two minutes for officers to arrive at the Calvary Street home, where they found Haggie holding a blood-soaked cloth to her mouth.

"She was crying. She was quite upset," he said. "Her teeth were moving as she spoke to us."

Haggie said she was getting her life together in the months before the attack. She had a job as a waitress in a local bar and was taking classes toward an undergraduate degree from Northeastern University.

She had dated Smith on and off for 14 years, but said she had had enough of his jealousy and wanted out.

"I went out (Nov. 19) because I had had enough," said Haggie, who went on to describe Smith's jealous streak over the years. "Jimmy knew it was over between us."

She said Smith threatened a gas station attendant with an ax handle in '99 after he made a flirtatious remark to her that one of her sons repeated at the dinner table in front of Smith.

When her first son was born Smith threatened to steal him and harm the baby's father, she said.

In June 2002, he smashed a phone and the windshield of her car with a brick during an argument, she said.

Testimony is expected to continue this morning at 9. Several police officers, EMTs and the doctors who treated Haggie are expected to take the stand.
 

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Re: Waltham man's defense focuses on his 'intent': Admits to

"In a mayhem case, one component is specific, deliberate intent," Halpern said. "There is no evidence of it."

What a tool! I think the continued beating and a face of a helpless person changing in front of you definately shows deliberate intent to maim or disfigure. How would the lack of premeditation take away from this deliberate attempt? Hope this guy goes up the river for the maximum.
 

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Re: Waltham man's defense focuses on his 'intent': Admits to

The guy should have a taste of his own medicine. But that does not mean the victim was blameless: she hung around with this anus for 14, count 'em, 14 years! And she welped his child...even though they were not married! "...but I loooovvvve him!..."

Beauty. You get what you deserve...(nobody deserves a beating...well, almost nobody...but to court disaster for 14 years...please!)

Did the government seize the welp and put it into protective custody? It seems that the open and gross stupidity of the parents would have required it! :evil:
 

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Re: Waltham man's defense focuses on his 'intent': Admits to

Its unbeleivibe that this woman would stick it out for 14 years. I've seen many of these situautions before the woman just keeps getting beaten worse and worse but refuses to do anything about it until something horrible like this or worse happens. It really breaks my heart to go to a domestic call over and over again that the woman will not do anything to protect herself and I have to see her with broken ribs, noses, black eyes, etc. I told one woman who wouldn't leave because she's afraid of being alone,you will be alone six feet under if this continues and she just didn't seem to care. I would love to beat every one of these guys 10 times for every time they hit their women but it won't help a woman who doesn't want to help herself. :wm:
 
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