By Dave Rogers
---- — NEWBURYPORT – A decade-long feud between two men became bloody when one of the men severely bit the other man’s neck during a downtown sidewalk brawl.
Daniel P. Russell, 58, 189 Merrimac St., No. 2, Newburyport, 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 night.
City Marshal Thomas Howard said the victim was heavily bitten on the left side of his neck, over one eye and his mouth.
“One of the most vicious bites I’ve seen on an individual,” Howard said, referring to the victim’s neck wound.
The victim was transported to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport and it is believed he may need plastic surgery to repair severe damage to his neck, Howard said.
Howard said the incident was the result of a 10-year-long feud between the two men which began after the victim fired Russell while the suspect was painting his house. Over the years, the two would exchange harsh words when running into each other.
Around 6 p.m. Saturday, 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 officers 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, Howard said.
It was after being read his Miranda rights that Russell admitted his intentions to police, according to court records.
Howard said it is unknown whether Russell or the victim were drunk but Russell admitted to police he had been drinking earlier that day.
Russell was held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing Wednesday after his arraignment yesterday at Newburyport District Court.
Considering the nature of the charges, Judge Allen Swan ordered a dangerousness hearing to determine whether granting Russell bail would pose a risk to society or his victim. According to court records, as he was being questioned by police, Russell admitted he wanted to bite the eye out of his victim.