Gilford man arraigned for domestic assault in which woman was choked
By MICHAEL MORTENSEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — A 21-year-old Gilford man was ordered held on $15,000 cash bail after his arraignment in Belknap County Superior Court Tuesday on felony charges of domestic assault in Belmont last Friday.
Izaiah Conway, whose address on court documents was 47 Annis Drive, pleaded not guilty to three counts of second-degree assault, plus one count of being a felon in possession of a deadly weapon — all felonies — plus a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence simple assault, and another charge of criminal threatening.
Superior Court Justice David Ruoff entered the not guilty pleas on Conway's behalf and also found that evidence presented against the defendant was sufficient for finding of probable cause to proceed with the criminal charges.
Authorities allege that in the wee hours of last Friday morning Conway throttled his female victim, age 31, and also struck her several times with a retractable baton, which is classified as a deadly weapon. The attack which occurred at the victim's residence was stopped when a neighbor heard screams and intervened.
In seeking continuation of the $15,000 bail imposed at the time of his arrest, Assistant Belknap County Attorney Adam Woods told the judge that Conway was a danger to the community, and especially the victim, and also likely to flee. He cited the "violent set of circumstances" that led to the defendant's latest arrest as well as prior convictions. "He's not likely to abide by any bail conditions the court might set without a considerable amount of cash at stake," Woods said. The prosecutor added that since being held in Belknap County Jail, corrections officials had monitored phone calls Conway made to his mother asking her to urge the victim to drop the charges, something Woods said was tantamount to witness tampering.
But Conway's attorney, public defender Amy Ashworth, argued for the bail be lowered to $500 cash or corporate surety. She said her client has a job as a snowplow operator and so "can only make money when it snows." She said that he could stay with his sister who lives in Meredith, and so would not be near the victim. She also noted that he helps to support his 7-year-old son, and is working to get into a substance abuse program.
But the judge, who presided via a televised hookup from Cheshire County Superior Court in Keene, said he did not think that there were any bail conditions that he could impose together with lower bail that would assure the victim's safety.
According the records on file in Fourth Circuit Court-District Division, Conway was charged with misdemeanor simple assault and criminal threatening after attacking the same victim last Nov. 22 in Meredith. A restraining order was issued immediately afterward which forbade Conway from having any contact with the victim. Bail at that time was set at $1,500 personal recognizance.
But on Nov. 28 Conway was found to have been riding with the victim in her car and later arguing with her and threatening her in the parking lot of the Laconia Rod & Gun Club. And the day after that Conway was found to be with the victim in a Weirs Beach motel.
As a result of these contacts, Conway was charged with two counts of violating his bail orders, criminal threatening and criminal mischief.
A circuit court judge lifted the restraining order on Dec. 5 at the victim's request.
On Jan. 9 Conway appeared in Circuit Court and agreed to participate in compliance court — a program where a defendant periodically returns to court to testify that he or she is complying with all court orders.
At Tuesday's arraignment, Woods told the court that after the latest assault Conway fled the scene with a gunshot wound to his leg, but never sought medical treatment. An affidavit filed by Belmont Police Officer Kristopher Koeltz stated that after he was shot he asked the victim to drive him to the hospital. Conway subsequently fled the scene and was located later in the day hiding in a shed at his mother's residence in Gilford.
In addition to the domestic assault charges in November and this month, Conway has a prior felony drug conviction in December 2015 and in 2016 was charged by Tilton police with being a felon in possession of a loaded handgun.