BRATTLEBORO — A Derby man stands accused of severely beating a woman in a Brattleboro hotel, resulting in injuries that include a brain bleed, a punctured lung, fractures to her face, to the bones around her eyes, to her sternum and to her rib cage, as well as bruises all over her body.
According to the Windham County State’s Attorney’s Office, Preston Lawson, 21, will be charged as a habitual offender.
He is being held on $15,000 bail for violating his parole.
“On further review of the information, it would be appropriate to have a hold without bail here,” said Windham Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Mann. “There is a serious risk of flight presented in this matter and based on the allegations, at least as of today, without having an evidentiary hearing, there’s not a reasonable expectation of an ability to protect the community from this kind of behavior.”
A bail hearing was set for Friday.
Lawson has been charged with one count of first-degree aggravated domestic assault with a prior aggravated domestic assault conviction and one count of first-degree aggravated domestic assault.
Lawson’s previous convictions include first-degree aggravated domestic assault, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and burglary into an occupied dwelling, all from 2019.
During his arraignment, Lawson asked the judge when he would be able to see the woman he is accused of assaulting.
“I never hurt [the woman],” Lawson told the judge. “She’s all I have on this planet ...”
Lawson also referred to the woman as his “goddess.”
He also told the court he expected the woman to arrive at court to post the $15,000 bail that was imposed Wednesday night for violating his parole.
“As I understand it,” said Mann, “[she is] not coming ... [she is] not physically able to come.”
The woman was transported to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and later moved to Albany (N.Y.) Medical Center, where she is being treated in the intensive care unit.
According to an affidavit filed by Brattleboro Police Detective Colby Kerylow, police responded to a Brattleboro hotel after a 911 call made at just after 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
Upon arrival at the hotel, officers found in one of the rooms Lawson and a woman with severe injuries.
“Lawson stated they were ‘beat up really bad by three people,’” wrote Kerylow, adding it might have been because he identified a drug dealer in Springfield to his Windsor County probation officer.
He also said they wanted $2,000 to leave him and the woman alone.
“Lawson stated he got knocked down and got kicked three or four times in the stomach and ‘hammer fisted’ by his eyes,” wrote Kerylow. “It should be noted that while I was speaking with Lawson at the Police Department, I did not observe any injuries to Lawson’s face. I also observed that Lawson’s right hand was swollen, but I also observed what appeared to be track marks, indicative of intravenous drug use, on the top of Lawson’s hands.”
Lawson also told police that he called 911, but a records check revealed it was actually the woman who made the call.
During a search of the hotel room, police found multiple white towels, white sheets and white pillows with blood on them.
“At the head of the bed, there was a blood stain that soaked through to the mattress. Throughout the room there were multiple areas that had blood spatter to include the walls, night stands, the heat radiator, areas of the bathroom and doors for the closet and bathroom,” wrote Kerylow.
About two hours before the 911 call was made, local dispatch received a request from a man asking them to conduct a welfare check on a couple at the hotel.
The man told police Lawson and the woman were attempting to blackmail him for money and that they said if he didn’t deposit money into their bank account, they were going to kill themselves by overdosing on drugs.
The man asked for the welfare check, because he “was concerned that the two would follow through with their plan,” wrote Kerylow.
On a recording of a phone call made at 5 p.m. between Lawson and the man who asked for the welfare check, Lawson can be heard saying, “You’re nothing but a little girl and believe me I will strangle you with my bare hands until you cannot breathe ...,” according to the affidavit.