UMass student suffers severe head injury after Amherst attack
James Anthony Harris Purchase photo reprints »
AMHERST — A 21-year-old University of Massachusetts man walking with a group of friends in downtown Amherst suffered a severe head injury during an assault early Friday morning, according to Amherst police.
Police Detective Christina Knightly said the man was near the bus stop in front of the post office, at the corner of Kellogg Avenue and North Pleasant Street, at 12:16 a.m. when he was punched in the face by a man identified as James Anthony Harris, 19, of 116 Pomeroy Lane.
The two had initially exchanged words prior to the assault, Knightly said.
Harris was arrested a short time later, after he was found hiding in a Kellogg Avenue home, she said. He was charged with assault and battery causing serious bodily injury.
He pleaded not guilty in Eastern Hampshire District Court on Friday and was held without right to bail. He is due back in court on Dec. 17.
Witnesses reported that the victim, after being struck, fell to the ground, where he hit the back of his head on the sidewalk, Knightly said.
The man was unresponsive and was transported by Amherst Fire Department ambulance to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield for treatment, where he is listed in serious but stable condition, according to Knightly.
Prior to the latest incident, Harris had been arrested twice within the last week, first on Oct. 26 on a charge of disorderly conduct following a disturbance in the same location in which police said he was screaming and flailing his arms, and again Monday morning when he was found trespassing at Mill Valley Estates apartments in South Amherst.