BENNINGTON -- A man accused of beating up his girlfriend in May who was then released by the court is now being held for allegedly assaulting her again.
Joshua D. Ellsworth, 23, of Bennington, pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Vermont Superior Court to second degree aggravated domestic assault in violation of a court order, and 17 counts of violating release conditions. Judge Nancy Corsones ordered Ellsworth to be held without bail until a bail hearing can be scheduled.
In May, Ellsworth pleaded not guilty to aggravated domestic assault, and two counts of misdemeanor domestic assault. He was released from court on the conditions that he check in daily at the Bennington Police Department, abide by a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew at a Main Street address, and not contact or come within 300 feet of his girlfriend, the alleged victim.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Officer Jason Burnham, on May 19 at approximately 6 p.m. he met with a woman who said Ellsworth had bitten her on the arm. When asked about other bruises, she said a week before Ellsworth grabbed her during an argument. During the latest incident, she said he grabbed her by the throat and hit her several times. At one point, he pinned her down and strangled her. He also headbutted her and bit her nose, per the affidavit. She said a person who witnessed the incident said they were calling police, and Ellsworth told them they were just wrestling and everything was fine. He then left.
Ellsworth was eventually located and admitted to biting the woman, which he said was to keep her from attacking him. He said he also pinned her down.
According to a second affidavit by Bennington Police Officer Lawrence Cole, on Aug. 11 at 12:08 p.m. a friend of Ellsworth called police to say his girlfriend had told her via phone that Ellsworth assaulted her and was holding her against her will.
Ellsworth and the alleged victim were found in the same apartment on Main Street and Ellsworth was arrested for violating his release conditions. The woman denied being held against her will and being assaulted and she also denied speaking with the woman who called police. Cell phone records showed this not to be the case. The woman told the alleged victim she had contacted police and this was the alleged victim’s chance to get away.
The alleged victim’s right hand was in a cast, which she said was from her slamming it against a door. Police did not believe her, and spoke further with the friend who called and learned the alleged victim is afraid to leave Ellsworth, fearing he will stalk her. She eventually did speak further with police, saying Ellsworth had slapped her five times that morning, one for each text message the other woman sent him. She said her thumb was broken in June when Ellsworth grabbed and twisted it, fracturing the bone which required surgery.
She also said she and Ellsworth had been living together for two weeks, and that the day of the recent assault she felt as though he would not let her leave.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.