, Salem, MA

January 15, 2014

Man held in robbery of estranged wife


---- — SALEM — The estranged husband of a Salem woman was arraigned yesterday on charges that he robbed her at knifepoint of the rent money she had hidden in a mattress last month.

Claud McClain, 53, pleaded not guilty to a string of charges, including armed robbery, assault with intent to murder, armed assault during a burglary and multiple assault counts, during his arraignment yesterday in Salem District Court.

He was ordered held without bail by Judge Matthew Machera pending a hearing into whether his release would pose a danger to the woman or the public.

Prosecutor Patrick Collins said police were called to an apartment on Palmer Street just before midnight on Dec. 29 by a neighbor who said he had opened the door to find a woman covered in blood and in a panic.

She said her estranged husband and a second man she does not know showed up at her home, an apartment down the street, demanding money. The only money she had was the $350 she planned to use toward her rent, which she didn’t want to give him.

McClain “went crazy,” Collins said, slamming the woman’s head into a wall and the floor, punching her and then putting his hands around her throat.

“Give me money or I’ll kill you,” McClain allegedly told the woman. Then he went to the kitchen, grabbed a 12-inch knife and threatened her with it until she showed him where the money was hidden, Collins told the judge. He and the other man fled with the money, said the prosecutor.

The woman suffered cuts to her face and bruises on her neck.

Defense attorney Alice Jayne asked for time to prepare for a hearing, and Machera agreed, setting the hearing for Jan. 22. McClain will remain in custody until then.

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