BY JULIE MANGANIS
---- — DANVERS — A Danvers man admitted yesterday to attacking and choking his wife to “try to shut her up” after she complained about him turning off her computer while she was shopping online last month.
Marco Peter Bertazzoni, 46, of 200 North St., Lot 12C, pleaded guilty to charges of assault and battery and assault and battery on a disabled person, his wife, who suffers from severe arthritis.
Salem District Court Judge Matthew Machera sentenced Bertazzoni to 18 months in jail, but suspended the sentence for two years, during which Bertazzoni will be on probation.
He’ll have to wear a GPS bracelet and stay away from the trailer where he and his wife had been living before his arrest on Dec. 7.
Prosecutor Lynsey Legier, who had urged the judge to require that Bertazzoni serve at least six months in custody, said police got a text message from Bertazzoni’s wife shortly after the attack.
The woman said she had feared her husband would hear her on the phone if she dialed 911.
When officers arrived, Bertazzoni was surprised to see them and said there was no problem in the trailer.
But his wife, who still had visible red marks on her face and neck, told a different story. She said she had stepped away from the computer while in the midst of an online shopping session and returned to find that her husband had shut down the computer, which, she feared, meant all of the orders she was placing would be lost.
She complained to him about it, she told police, and he responded by grabbing her by the throat and pushing her against a wall. “Maybe now you’ll shut up,” Legier quoted him as saying.
The woman told police that Bertazzoni had been abusive toward her and her children in the past, and that the abuse started after his unemployment benefits ran out several years ago.
The couple survive on her Social Security Disability Income.
Legier said the victim now wants Bertazzoni out of her life and said she wanted the judge to know that because she is disabled, she cannot run from him.
Defense lawyer Alex Cain said his client has expressed regret for his actions that night, but disputed the allegation that Bertazzoni had been abusive before that incident.
Bertazzoni’s time at Middleton, where he’s been held on bail since his arrest, has been “one heck of a wake-up call,” Cain told the judge. “He deeply regrets the actions of that particular night.”
Cain urged the judge to continue the case without a finding, which would have ultimately resulted in a dismissal of the charges.
“The facts are too serious for a (continuation without a finding),” Machera responded.
Instead, he said, he would impose a guilty finding and the 18-months suspended sentence, with conditions that include a GPS bracelet, an order that he not contact the victim and a requirement that he take part in a batterer’s program.
After agreeing to those conditions, Bertazzoni was released from custody.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.