BRENTWOOD, N.H. — A Massachusetts state trooper charged with assaulting his girlfriend in New Hampshire was denied bail and remains behind bars after his defense attorney appealed a judge’s decision from earlier this month.
The judge again ruled “supervised release would not be appropriate” for Sgt. Brian Erickson, 38, of Groveland, Mass., who was arrested on Jan. 31.
Erickson is charged with domestic violence strangulation, domestic second-degree and simple assault, obstructing report of a crime, disobeying an officer, criminal trespass and reckless operation.
A trooper for the past 10 years and a former Marine, Erickson was charged after an incident involving s 29-year-old woman in Exeter, New Hampshire, according to a police report.
He remains held in a New Hampshire jail following Judge Martin Honigberg’s recent decision.
Honinberg ruled “there is clear and convincing evidence” of Erickson’s dangerousness and that there were no conditions that would allow Erickson to be released on bail. The judge issued a preventative detention bail order that would remain in place as Erickson awaits trial.
Erickson said he would move to Seabrook, and provided a copy of a lease if he was released on bail.
His defense attorney, Hank Brennan, in an appeal of Honigberg’s decision, said the judge had not considered a report from the Rockingham County Supervised Pretrial Release program saying “If Mr. Erickson follows the recommended bail conditions the program can effectively watch him.”
And, if released to home confinement, Brennan said Erickson would reside with his wife and two young children.
But the prosecution fought Erickson’s release writing while the county’s pretrial release program “is an excellent alternative to preventative detention in other cases, it is not appropriate in this case.”
“Placing a bracelet on (Erickson) may indicate where the defendant is on a map but it does not indicate who he is with, what he is doing, who he is communicating with, etc. It also cannot monitor whether or not the defendant has access to the internet, is using the internet, etc. The Court agreed with the State that even supervised release would not be appropriate and that there are not conditions to otherwise mitigate the safety risks of allowing the defendant to be released ... The safety risks have not changed,” wrote Ryan Ollis, assistant county attorney.
Erickson’s initial bail hearing was held virtually over WebEx on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 11 and 12.
The judge’s order does acknowledge Erickson denies the charges. However, the judge pointed to a “lengthy text message exchange that preceded the events in question” which showed Erickson “wanted to control the actions and manipulate the emotions of the alleged victim.”
A police affidavit says that during an argument on Jan. 31, Erickson took his girlfriend’s cellphone and threw her on a bed. He “wrapped her arms around her on the bed and knelt on her upper thigh area so that she could barely breathe and could not move” and “put his hand on her neck and one of his fingers down her throat” to stop her from screaming, according to the affidavit.
Erickson is also accused of head-butting the woman twice, according to court papers.
Police said they responded to a 911 hang-up call at a house in Exeter and found Erickson in the garage. Police said he drove away at about 80 mph. Erickson was arrested at his home in Groveland.
Brennan, during the bail hearing, described the girlfriend as being angry because she and Erickson had broken up.
Erickson’s wife also applied for a harassment prevention order against the girlfriend in October 2020 after an incident at their Groveland home. The couple has two small children, according to court documents. The woman showed up there at 12:55 a.m., demanding to speak with Erickson’s wife and asking to show her something on her phone, according to a report the wife filed with Groveland police.
The wife told the woman, who appeared to have been drinking, to leave the property. Groveland police allowed the woman to call someone for a ride and for someone to drive her vehicle home, according to court papers.
Erickson has been suspended indefinitely from the State Police following a duty status hearing. Massachusetts State Police will continue an investigation into the matter and monitor Erickson’s prosecution in New Hampshire, said David Procopio, State Police spokesperson.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.