SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

August 13, 2013

Man gets 5 1/2 to 6 years for assault

Admits dragging ex-girlfriend with car

SALEM — A Boston man was sentenced yesterday to 51/2 to six years in state prison yesterday after admitting that he pummeled his former girlfriend and then dragged her with his car the length of a football field as she tried to escape.

Daniel Rodriguez, 24, and his attorney, Mark Schmidt, blamed untreated attention deficit hyperactivity disorder for the Dec. 29, 2011, attack on Rikki Gulliford, who was 19 at the time.

His victim isn’t entirely convinced, however.

“I think he did have a plan,” Gulliford said outside court after yesterday’s sentencing before Salem Superior Court Judge Timothy Feeley. “I think he planned to beat me. I don’t think he planned to drag me.”

The two had dated for about six months before she broke things off because of a prior assault and Rodriguez’s escalating need to control her, demanding to know where she was and trying to limit her contact with family and friends.

But two weeks later, Rodriguez, who lived in Jamaica Plain at the time, showed up at her home in a rented car she at first did not recognize. He eventually convinced her to get in so that they could talk, a prosecutor said.

That talk turned into an argument, and as Rodriguez drove through Salem, he turned onto Federal Street and then pulled over, prosecutor Greg Friedholm told the judge.

Dr. Jane Arlander was enjoying a walk when she saw Rodriguez on top of Gulliford, beating her on the face and chest as she struggled to break free, said the prosecutor.

As Arlander screamed at Rodriguez to stop, Gulliford managed to get the door open and tried to scramble out of the car. But her foot became wedged between the seat and the door frame. As she and Arlander yelled, Rodriguez sped off, “pedal to the metal,” Friedholm said.

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