, Salem, MA

February 1, 2014

Salem man charged with attempted murder

Terri Ogan
Staff Writer

---- — SALEM — A Salem resident is being held at Middleton Jail following his arrest Thursday morning on charges of assault and battery and attempted murder.

Police arrested Christopher Knestaut, 34, of 21 Harbor St., shortly after midnight after receiving a call about a woman “screaming for help” in a Harbor Street apartment building.

Police officers who responded found a woman sitting on the stairs between the first- and second-floor apartments, naked, shaking, with her knees to her chest, and with blood on her neck and face, according to a police report.

Knestaut, who had been arrested by Salem police earlier in the day on drug charges, attacked the victim when he returned home Wednesday evening, according to the report.

The two got into an argument, the victim told police, and she was frightened because Knestaut was getting “extremely angry,” and he had beaten her in the past. She grabbed a corkscrew that was in the room and told Knestaut to leave her alone; but when she tried to leave the room, Knestaut followed her into the kitchen, according to the report.

The victim then grabbed a knife and told Knestaut to leave her alone and leave the house, she told police.

Knestaut refused to leave and threw her to the floor, she said, when she began screaming for help.

Knestaut bit her arm and grabbed the knife she was still holding, breaking off the blade, she said, then grabbed her by the throat and began strangling her. She managed to break free, however, and ran out the back door screaming for help.

Police officers reported seeing a fresh bite mark on her forearm along with other red marks.

Knestaut, who had blood on his hands, face and arms, told police he was the one who was attacked, the report said.

Knestaut is being held without bail pending a hearing Feb. 5 to determine if his release poses a danger to the victim or the public.

Terri Ogan can be reached at 978-338-2660, via email at or on Twitter @terriogan.