SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

December 20, 2013

Man jailed for attacking veteran, 86

BEVERLY — A Beverly man will spend six months in jail for what a prosecutor called a “brutal and unprovoked” attack on an 86-year-old World War II veteran in June.

After John Doyle, 57, of 5 Blaine Ave., Beverly, was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs yesterday, his victim — who had been so frightened of Doyle he did not want to be in the same room with him — said, “I don’t have to be afraid now.”

During a hearing yesterday in Salem District Court, Doyle pleaded guilty to charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on a person over 60 and threats to commit a crime. The judge called the incident “just beyond the pale.”

“There has to be jail time,” Judge Michael Lauranzano told Doyle and his lawyer, Ronald Ranta, who were seeking probation. “Being drunk is no excuse for beating someone who is over 86 years old.”

Lauranzano imposed the sentence sought by prosecutor Alexander Grimes: 21/2 years in jail, with six months to be served and the balance suspended, and two years of probation.

Among the conditions Doyle will have to follow are anger management classes, random alcohol tests and an order to stay away from the Italian Community Center.

That’s where the victim and Doyle crossed paths on June 1, Grimes told the court.

The victim stopped to hold the door for Doyle, whom he’d known from around Beverly, where Doyle had worked as a bartender at several establishments over the years, said Grimes.

Doyle struck the older man, who tried to get away from him by running through the parking lot. But Doyle overtook the man, punched him with a closed fist and knocked him to the ground, where he beat and kicked him, Grimes said.

A witness, Kelly Atherton, and her husband came upon the scene and yelled at Doyle to stop.

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