Brian Smith of Agawam sentenced to prison after guilty plea in Hatfield aggravated assault and battery
NORTHAMPTON — An Agawam man who sparked a manhunt after fleeing from police who saw him with his hands wrapped around a woman’s throat was sentenced Tuesday to three to four years in state prison.
Brian Smith, 47, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and battery, intimidation of a witness and four counts of violation of a restraining order before Hampshire Superior Court Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder. The charges stemmed from an incident June 20 on King Street in Hatfield.
Smith had been indicted by a Hampshire County grand jury on an additional charge of attempted murder, which was dropped as part of the plea bargain.
Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Carrie Russell, who prosecuted the case, had sought a sentence of four to five years.
In court Tuesday, Russell said Smith had a long criminal record, dating back as far as 1994, with multiple charges of violating restraining orders and assault and battery.
“He has continuing issues with anger erupting into violence,” Russell said.
Smith’s victim in the June 20 assault was present Tuesday but declined to address the court.
Smith’s defense attorney, John Drake of Northampton, said the two-year relationship between Smith and his victim was “toxic” from the start, but they still kept getting back together.
Drake said Smith was already in the process of trying to deal with some of his personal issues when the attacks happened but has since begun taking “responsibility for his actions, words and deeds.”
Once released from prison, Smith will be on probation for up to four years, during which he must have no contact with the victim, avoid drugs and alcohol and submit to random screenings, and complete a certified batterer’s program.
Kinder said if Smith completes three years of his probation with no violations, the fourth year will be waived.
According to police and court records, when police arrived at the home of Smith’s victim, they said Smith could be seen through the bathroom window of the victim’s home with his hands wrapped around her throat, squeezing hard enough to cause her eyes to bulge.
After two orders by police to let her go, Smith did so and fled from the building, prompting a manhunt that lasted for about two hours.
Smith was found about midnight after he was seen leaving the woods along King Street and getting into a black pickup truck. The truck was stopped on North Hatfield Road and Smith was placed under arrest.
Bob Dunn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.