SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

February 23, 2013

Beverly woman charged in stabbing

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — BEVERLY — A Beverly woman has been charged with stabbing her longtime boyfriend, but both she and he say that the stabbing was an accident.

Michelle Ward, 39, is facing a charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon after the incident in her Beverly apartment Thursday evening.

But while police say Ward intended to harm her boyfriend, he told a Salem District Court judge yesterday that he doesn’t believe that.

Police were called to Beverly Hospital to investigate after a man showed up bleeding heavily from a wound to his upper arm. When police asked what happened, the man, who lost approximately a liter of blood from the small wound, initially told them he did not want to get Ward in trouble.

“Michelle is a good person,” he told police.

Prosecutor Alex Grimes said that Ward’s daughter had driven him to the hospital. She told police she thought her mother had been sleeping when she was awakened. “She can be like a bear,” the younger woman told police, suggesting that it was an unintentional stabbing.

At her 71 Sohier Road apartment, Ward told police that she and her boyfriend had argued because he had been drinking. She said she told him to leave and began doing the dishes, when he came up behind her.

After Grimes, the prosecutor, asked for a hearing to determine whether Ward poses a danger if released, the victim took the witness stand and said he had surprised her by walking up to her from behind and grabbing her by the waist, as she washed some silverware. The man said he wanted to apologize before leaving.

But a steak knife she was holding “nicked” his arm when she turned around, he testified.

He insisted that he was not afraid of Ward, who is disabled and about half his size. He also told the judge that the injury did not prevent him from going to work as a construction worker yesterday morning before the court proceeding.

Grimes, the prosecutor, suggested that he was simply trying to protect the woman.

But defense lawyer Paul Moraski said the man’s account “makes sense.”

“If you were going to stab someone, you’d probably do it more than once, and you’d probably also see some defensive wounds,” said Moraski.

Singh denied the prosecution’s request to hold Ward, releasing her on her own recognizance while the case is pending. She’s due back in court April 4.

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