SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

May 17, 2013

Salem man held in attempted smothering

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — SALEM — A Salem man is being held without bail on charges that he tried to kill his girlfriend twice, then threatened to get a knife and stab her, during an incident early yesterday in their apartment.

Marcus Vialpando, 21, of 9 Abbott St., pleaded not guilty to two counts of attempted murder, as well as charges of threats, witness intimidation, and four counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon during his arraignment in Salem District Court.

Prosecutor Lars Trautman told a judge that police went to the home at around 1 a.m. and heard whispering behind the apartment door.

When Vialpando finally opened the door, police saw his girlfriend, crying and upset, with visible bumps on her forehead and scratches and bruises on her face and body.

She told police that Vialpando had been increasingly controlling of her behavior, including forbidding her to answer the door when he was not home and routinely going through her cellphone. He had recently begun checking her underwear as well, accusing her of cheating.

Late Wednesday night and into early yesterday morning, Vialpando allegedly attacked her with a large plastic water bottle, then slammed her head against a table, a television and a wall, Trautman told the judge.

She said Vialpando then threw her into a chair and began to strangle her, until she saw stars. She said she managed to slide out from under his hands, but was then pinned down and smothered with a pillow.

Vialpando then allegedly told her he was going to get a knife to stab her.

A second man in the apartment declined to corroborate the account, telling officers he was “not a snitch.”

At the police station, Vialpando claimed that his girlfriend struck him first, and said the cellphones police say he took to prevent her from calling for help actually belonged to him.

Defense lawyer William O’Hare said he intends to speak to that second man and asked for time to do so before a full hearing on the prosecution’s request to hold Vialpando without bail.

Judge Robert Brennan granted the request for a delay and scheduled a dangerousness hearing for May 22.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.