Man pleads not guilty to strangling woman in Manchester Village hotel room
BENNINGTON— A man is facing charges after he allegedly strangled a woman in a Manchester Village hotel room.
Charles Nichols, 27, of Dorset, pleaded not guilty in Vermont Superior Court on Dec. 17 to a felony count of aggravated domestic assault and one misdemeanor count of reckless endangerment. He was then ordered held without bail until a weight of evidence hearing on Monday, at which $50,000 bail was set and later posted. He was released Monday under the condition he not have contact with the alleged victim and was also ordered to surrender his passport.
According to an affidavit by Manchester Police Officer Christopher Mason, he and Cpl. Daniel Steere responded to the Equinox Hotel on Dec. 16 at approximately 9:05 p.m. for a report of an infant who fell off of a bed. Mason spoke with the infant's 29-year-old mother in the hotel's back office and learned she was the victim of domestic assault.
The woman told police that she, Nichols and their baby had recently returned to their hotel room after dinner. She said her back was sore and, believing Nichols was going to give her a massage, laid the baby on the bed and then laid down on her stomach next to the baby.
She said she then heard a thud, realized the baby had rolled of the bed and immidiately stood up to find Nichols exiting the bathroom to see what was going on. She said an argument ensued and Nichols got very angry.
While the woman sat on the bed consoling the baby, Nichols allegedly grabbed the woman by the neck and pushed her onto her back. Nichols allegedly squeezed her neck so hard that her airway closed and she could not breathe, and when she broke free, pushed her back down again. The woman said she broke free a second time and ran from the room with the baby still in her arms.
The alleged victim was taken to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, where she told police Nichols has a history of anger issues and had a prior physical altercation with her in January. She said they were together in another country at the time and she did not report it to authorities.
Police observed a red mark on her left bicep and another mark that continued from her bicep to the tricep. Police also observed red marks on her lower neck just above her collar bone area.
Police did not find Nichols in the area around the hotel, according to the affidavit. Mason wrote Nichols appeared to have taken his belongings from the hotel room. Police went to a secondary address for Nichols in Manchester and found a vehicle that matched a description of the one he drove, but were unable to make contact with anyone.
Nichols is represented by Daniel M. McManus and is due in court on Jan. 20, 2016 for a discovery conference.
Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979
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