BENNINGTON >> A local man is being held without bail after allegedly kicking a pregnant woman in the stomach.

Matthew Morse, 27, of Bennington, pleaded not guilty Monday in Vermont Superior Court to two felony counts of aggravated domestic assault, and one misdemeanor count of unlawful mischief. He was ordered held, and a bail review hearing was conducted later in the week. According to the Department of Corrections online offender locator, he is being held at the Rutland jail.

According to an affidavit by Vermont State Trooper Lucas Hall, on Jan. 23 at 8:33 a.m. he responded to a home in Bennington where a caller reported hearing a couple fighting. He went there and found Morse sitting in a vehicle, upset, with a wound above his eye. He initially refused treatment for it, but after being arrested was taken to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center.

Hall spoke to a woman who is five months pregnant with Morse's child. She said Morse came home in the morning after a night of drinking and she asked him to leave since his drinking makes him hard to live with. She was packing his bag while he was ignoring her. She grabbed him by the shoulders to get his attention, at which point he "went crazy."

He began strangling her, so she scratched at his eye, thinking he was about to kill her. This got him off her, but he then kicked her with both legs in the stomach. He then dragged her into another room and threw her on the couch, all while yelling at her. She was able to call members of his family who calm him down when he is angry. While they were there, he threw a knife into a wall and attempted to break some other knives she owns, damaging one of them. He also threw empty beer bottles.


Morse declined to answer police questions.

— Staff Reports