ROWLEY – A local man charged with trying to kill his girlfriend by smothering her with a pillow early Sunday was ordered held without bail during his arraignment Monday in Newburyport District Court.

Kenneth Auger, 39, of Dodge Road, Rowley, faces an attempted murder charge along with domestic assault and battery and strangulation/suffocation charges. Judge Peter Doyle ordered Auger held without bail until at least Oct. 28 for a dangerousness hearing. 

Auger's attorney, Anthony Papoulias, argued that his client shouldn't be held at all after he said the man's girlfriend recanted her story to him outside the courtroom. 

"She made that story up," Papoulias said. 

Doyle said there was enough probable cause to hold Auger until the dangerousness hearing.

A dangerousness hearing determines if a defendant poses too great a risk to his victim or society to be afforded bail while awaiting trial. 

In a police report, Rowley Officer Chris Ottani wrote that the woman was crying outside and wearing only a T-shirt and shorts in 42-degree weather when police responded to a domestic call. She told police that Auger jumped on top of her while she was lying on a bed and used a pillow to smother her. 

"(The victim) stated it felt like a long time that she was being smothered and she was fearful that Auger was not going to stop," Ottani wrote in his report.  "(The victim) also stated that at one point the pillow was pressed so hard that she could not breathe at all and her glasses that were on her head were broken." 

Auger denied trying to smother her, saying to Ottani, "Of course she said that." 

Ottani checked the pillows and didn't notice "any blood or signs of anything that would indicate one was used to suffocate (the woman). However, there were many pillows throughout the living room and the one used was not identified." 

The victim refused medical treatment and repeatedly told police she didn't want Auger arrested. The woman did say, however, that she would stay with her parents instead of Auger.

A check of Auger's police record showed past arrests for assault and battery and two restraining orders taken out by his parents. He was convicted of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and was sentenced to a year's probation, according to Ottani's report. 

Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at drogers@newburyportnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008. 

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