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June 4, 2014

Judge says no alcohol for neck-biting man

NEWBURYPORT — Daniel Russell’s hopes of having a cold beer this summer went flat yesterday when a district court judge denied his motion to resume drinking alcohol while on four years probation.

In October, the 59-year-old Merrimac Street resident admitted he bit into the neck of a longtime rival during a wild melee outside the Port Tavern on State Street last July. The brawl was the culmination of a decade-long feud that included accusations that Russell rifled through underwear belonging to the victim’s daughter.

Newburyport District Court Judge Peter Doyle in October sentenced Russell to 18 months in jail but suspended all but 12 days for four years while Russell remains on probation after pleading guilty to assault and battery. Russell was ordered to wear an electric monitoring bracelet for six months, use a Sobrietor remote alcohol device, remain drug- and alcohol-free with random screens, stay away and have no contact with his victim and abide by a restraining order issued by the court.

Yesterday, the same judge denied Russell’s motion to rescind his order to remain alcohol-free while on probation. A slightly bemused Doyle told Russell there was no chance he would allow Russell’s motion, adding that had he not been drinking, the incident that resulted in his arrest likely wouldn’t have happened.

Russell vehemently disagreed with Doyle, saying the fight was inevitable based on the past history between himself and the victim. He grew more agitated when Doyle ordered him to stick to the appeal and not discuss the merits of the case. Following that exchange a burly court officer walked over to Russell and firmly suggested he listen to Doyle more carefully.

As part of his motion, Russell asked Doyle to remove travel restrictions so he could play golf and be placed on the lowest form of probation. Doyle denied his probation request but granted the travel restriction motion.

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