Night-time assault case moves to Hampden Superior Court

Jason D. Hannum
Jason D. Hannum (Photo Credit: The Westfield News)

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – A city man saw assault charges dismissed in Westfield District Court yesterday but will answer for the same offenses in Hampden Superior Court.

The charges – armed assault during a burglary, breaking and entering in the nighttime with intent to commit a felony, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault with a dangerous weapon and threatening to commit a crime – stem from a May 18, 2014 incident at General Shepard Apartments.

At 3:16 a.m. that day a resident told an emergency dispatcher that she had awakened to find a man dressed in black standing over her husband holding a knife from her kitchen.

She later told a responding police officer that her husband woke when she screamed and grabbed for the knife, struggling with the man who, according to both residents, repeatedly yelled that he was going to kill them. The male resident suffered a cut in the struggle but was not seriously injured and the intruder fled.

Officers responding to the call spotted the man dressed in black and, after a brief foot chase through Monroe Street backyards, Jason D. Hannum, 25, of 59 King St., was taken into custody. The victims were taken separately to view the man and both positively identified Hannum as the man who had threatened to kill them. Police subsequently found that the man had gained entry to the first floor apartment via a laundry room window.

Hannum was initially held without right to bail when he was arraigned in Westfield District Court and after the subsequent dangerousness hearing he continued to be held.

In a court document explaining the reasons for ordering pretrial detention, First Justice Philip A. Contnat wrote “The overriding factor, in the Court’s mind, in support of pretrial detention, is the extremely violent nature of the underlying charges.”

Noting that neither victim had ever seen Hannum before he appeared in their bedroom, Contant wrote “The victims literally had to fight for their lives in this 3:00 AM attack in their own bedroom.”

Yesterday the charges in district court were dismissed after Hannum was indicted and arraigned in Hampden Superior Court where judges may mete out much stiffer penalties that those available to judges in district courts.

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Media Credit: The Westfield News

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