Francis 'Frank' Dowland of Easthampton held on $10,000 bail after denying he broke girlfriend's eye socket
NORTHAMPTON — An Easthampton man is being held on $10,000 bail after denying charges he beat his girlfriend into unconsciousness, broke her eye socket and pleaded with her from jail to not testify against him.
Francis “Frank” Dowland, 40, of 26 Center St., pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Hampshire Superior Court before Judge Mary-Lou Rup to aggravated assault and battery, two counts of intimidation of a witness and violation of a restraining order.
According to court records, an argument on Oct. 2 between Dowland and his girlfriend turned violent.
Dowland allegedly punched the alleged victim with a closed fist in her left eye so hard that she began to lose consciousness. She told police she hit the ground and remembers Dowland kicking her before she passed out.
Hours later, according to court files, the victim was discovered in her home by a friend who called 911 after seeing the extent of her injuries, including the broken eye socket and multiple bruises on her arms and legs.
The injuries to her eye were so severe that she required a permanent plate behind her eye to prevent it from sinking into her skull, according to information from the Northwestern district Attorney’s office.
She also has double vision, loss of peripheral vision, and blind spots in her left eye due to the injuries, conditions that may be permanent, according to court records.
Dowland was arrested and held at the Hampshire Jail and House of Correction while awaiting arraignment and allegedly wrote three letters to his girlfriend from jail asking her not to go to court, “plead the Fifth” if she did, and tell investigators that she was drunk when she gave her statement to police and Dowland did not strike her, according to the DA’s office.
The third letter, allegedly mailed around Nov. 6, violated a restraining order authorities said the victim obtained after the first two were sent, according to court records.
If Dowland should post bail he must remain away from the alleged victim and 100 yards away from her residence, have no contact of any kind with her, stay away from and have no contact with any witnesses that testified before the grand jury, relinquish any firearms or dangerous weapons, avoid drugs and alcohol and submit to random screenings, according to court papers.
Dowland is due back in court March 4 for a pre-trial hearing.
Bob Dunn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.