By Dave Rogers
---- — NEWBURYPORT — A local man accused of seriously injuring an Amesbury man after biting the flesh off his neck during a bloody scrum outside the Port Tavern was released from jail on $2,000 cash bail following a dangerousness hearing Wednesday at Newburyport District Court.
While Daniel P. Russell, 58, 189 Merrimac St., Newburyport, was deemed not enough of a danger to society to remain behind bars pending trial on mayhem and assault and battery charges, he must remain at home, stay away from his victim and witnesses, stay out of Amesbury, abide by a harassment order and remain alcohol-free. Russell is allowed to work and attend church but must wear a sobrietor bracelet as part of his bail agreement, according to Essex County District Attorney spokeswoman Carrie Kimball-Monahan.
He is due back in court Monday for a pretrial hearing.
Russell was charged with mayhem and assault and battery after allegedly biting a section of flesh off the neck of an Amesbury man who was enjoying a night out with his wife at the Port Tavern on Saturday, July 6. The incident was the culmination of a decade-long dispute between the men. The victim had hired Russell to paint his home and fired him before he had completed the job.
The victim is expected to require plastic surgery to repair the severe injury to his neck. Police Marshal Tom Howard said the injury was “one of the most vicious bites I have ever seen on an individual.”
According to local police, the incident was the result of a 10-year-long feud between the two men that began after the victim fired Russell while he was painting his house. Over the years, the two would exchange harsh words when running into each other.
Around 6 p.m. that night, Russell stepped into the bar to grab a beer where he spotted the victim and his wife. An argument between the two didn’t take long to start and eventually spilled outside onto the State Street sidewalk where the two men, roughly the same age, began wrestling frantically on the ground. During the physical confrontation, Russell bit his victim several times in quick succession, turning the pavement near the wrestling match bloody.
Police officer Joshua Tierney was the first to arrive at the scene followed by officer Shawn Eaton, but by that time, Russell had fled down Prince Place. Tierney, along with Eaton and Sgt. Howard Adams, visited Russell’s Merrimac Street apartment. Hearing Russell move about his apartment, police made many attempts to coax him out. When those attempts failed, police conducted a forced entry and arrested him without incident.
After being read his Miranda rights, Russell admitted to police that he wanted to bite the eye out of his victim knowing he couldn’t win a fight with him, according to court records.