SALISBURY — A Cable Avenue man charged with stabbing an acquaintance with a hypodermic needle in February waived his right to a jury trial Wednesday and asked for a Newburyport District Court judge to decide his fate.
Douglas S. Plourde, 35, was arraigned in late February on charges of assault and battery with a hypodermic needle, assault and battery of a family/household member (two counts), threatening to commit a crime (murder) and intimidating a witness. The charges stem from multiple incidents, according to court records.
Plourde was arrested on a warrant after a car crash in Amesbury. When arrested, he was facing a heroin/fentanyl possession charge in Lawrence District Court.
He has remained in custody since his arrest after a Newburyport District Court judge deemed Plourde too dangerous to the alleged victim to be afforded bail while awaiting trial. Even without being found dangerous, Plourde would still be behind bars after Judge Allen Swan revoked his release on the Lawrence District Court charge.
Plourde stabbed the woman with a hypodermic needle Feb. 8 following an argument, according to court records. She was forced to seek medical attention and undergo testing.
Days later, the two got into another violent argument, prompting the woman to call for help, but Plourde grabbed her phone and smashed it. About the same time, Plourde threatened to “put a bullet” in her father’s head.
Court documents say the woman purposely smashed her car in Amesbury after Plourde “held a knife up to her during the driving which resulted in the crash, and prior to crashing was screaming at her and driving erratically in the car,” Salisbury police Sgt. Jim Leavitt wrote in his report.
At the hearing Wednesday, Plourde’s attorney told Judge Peter Doyle that the woman “recanted” much of what happened Feb. 8, saying she “exaggerated things” and admitted she was unsure if he stabbed her on purpose.
The attorney asked Doyle to release Plourde while awaiting trial, saying the woman’s safety could be assured by Plourde being placed under house arrest and forced to wear a GPS unit around the clock.
Doyle denied the request.
The attorney then asked Doyle to allow Plourde to waive his right to a jury trial so he could resolve the matter faster. Ever since COVID-19 restrictions were enacted in March 2020, there have been no jury trials in Newburyport District Court. Court officials say it could be months before jury trials resume there.
Doyle granted Plourde’s motion for a bench trial and scheduled it for May 5.
During the same hearing, an Essex County prosecutor told Doyle that Plourde could be indicted by a Salem Superior Court grand jury, moving the case to the higher court.
Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.