Violent crimes limited in 2011

WESTFIELD – The city is blessed by a relatively low crime rate but there were a few violent incidents during 2011 which are worth noting as the year is reviewed.
Perhaps the most horrific of those crimes occurred late at night on Oct. 14 near the intersection of Union Street and Union Avenue after a minor traffic crash.
A nearby resident called out to youths in the street that they should get out of the road before they were hit by a car and three young men allegedly left the street to assault the men.
When the dust had settled, the victim was transported to Baystate Medical Center where he was treated for four broken ribs and three fractured vertebrae.
The three men – Felix R. Torres Santiago, 30, of 9B Union Ave., Emmanuelli Cruz-Martinez, 18, of 18 Bates St., and Jimmy Cruz, 17, of 11A Union Avenue – were arrested and arraigned on charges of aggravated assault and battery. All three were subsequently released on bail and are expected back in Westfield District Court in January.
The sole homicide of the year happened in March as a result of a domestic dispute between Karen and John Brettman of Heggie Drive.
Police responded at a call on March 16 at the Brettman home and were told by Karen Brettman, 51, that her husband had made her so mad that she pushed him after he punched her. Her husband, 64, fell as a result of her push and struck his head.
John Brettman was initially taken to Noble Hospital and was subsequently transferred to Baystate Medical Center. After treatment there, he was sent to a rehabilitation facility where he died April 14.
Since he had pre-existing medical issues, it was not until a medical examiner in Boston ruled the death a homicide due to blunt force trauma to the head that his widow was arrested for manslaughter. She is awaiting trial in Springfield Superior Court.
There were two cases of arson in the city during 2011 and both were sparked by love gone wrong.
Early in August, a Meadow Street resident called police to report that she had seen a former boyfriend leaving her residence after she had ignored a knock on her door. Moments later, she discovered a cardboard box burning atop a child’s mattress on her porch.
After an investigation, the woman’s former boyfriend, Shawn Buffum, 35, of 83 Main Street, was arrested for burning the contents of a building.
In the second arson case, at the end of August, David W. Hawley, 22, of no fixed address, told investigators that he had been in the company of a friend, Luis M. Texeira, 22, of 27 Collins St., when they walked past the home of Texeira’s former girlfriend and Texeira saw another’s suitor’s car was parked there.
Hawley told the investigators that Texeira put wood under the car, doused it with gasoline and ignited it. The car was totally destroyed and house it was parked next to was damaged.
Both men were arrested for arson of a dwelling house and burning a motor vehicle.
Both were arraigned in district court but Texeira was later indicted in superior court where harsher penalties may be imposed when the case comes to trial.
And true love which went off the rails was the impetus for two incidents involving allegedly violent men and their former girlfriends.
At the end of May, police were called to a Collins Street apartment where the resident said that a man had forced his way into his apartment and verbally assaulted his girlfriend before hitting him with a brick.
Police were told that the suspect, Tyler E. Bovat, then 22, of 1 Milton Ave., had encountered his former girlfriend at a bar with her new boyfriend the night before and had created a disturbance.
The next day, the victim said, he was awakened by a loud banging on his door and, when his 15-year-old daughter answered the door, Bovat pushed his way inside and began yelling vile imprecations at his former girlfriend.
The resident said that, when he intervened, Bovat produced a half a brick from a pocket and struck his head with it. He said that Bovat threatened to return and shoot him if he reported the incident.
Bovat was arrested for home invasion, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, intimidating a witness and threatening to commit a crime.
In district court, Bovat was sentenced to three concurrent nine month terms in the house of correction.
In June, another lovelorn man tried to press his suit by kidnapping his former girlfriend.
A Powder Mill Village woman came to the police station to report she had used a ruse to get away from her former boyfriend who had broken into her apartment and tried to tape her mouth closed while choking her.
The woman told officers that she had awakened when her former boyfriend, Sirfrancis Lainier Carthon, 29, of 15 Ballard St., Easthampton, broke into her apartment and entered her bedroom with a roll of tape. The woman said she was able to avoid having her mouth taped shut but he prevented her from leaving while he tried to convince her to break up with her current boyfriend and resume a relationship with him.
The woman said that she was able to convince the man to allow her to take her children to school and, once they were safely delivered to the school, she went directly to the police department to report the crime.
Officers went to her apartment where they found Carthon and arrested him for kidnapping, breaking and entering a building in the nighttime with intent to commit a felony and for intimidating a witness.

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