BEVERLY — A woman with a history of mental illness pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges stemming from a bat-wielding rampage in the lobby of the Beverly police station last December.
Alicia Morasse, 24, who was living at 327 Rantoul St. at the time, received a suspended six-month jail term and a year of supervised probation in the Dec. 30 incident.
The incident came hours after Morasse's boyfriend, Kenel Cadet, was arrested on a domestic abuse charge involving Morasse. During that incident, Morasse asked to be taken to Beverly Hospital due to concerns for her own mental health, according to her lawyer.
However, she was discharged later that day and went back to her apartment, where, according to police, she donned black clothing and gloves, grabbed a red aluminium baseball bat, and, shortly after 5 p.m., went to the Beverly police station on Cabot Street to demand the release of Cadet.
Told by an officer that it was not possible for Cadet to be released, she expressed anger, accusing the officers who arrested Cadet of racism because he is African-American.
Told that she needed to leave, Morasse then said, "You're going to have to (expletive) make me," daring the officers.
As the desk officer, Joshua Spitaleri, turned toward a supervisor to ask what he should do, prosecutors say Morasse pulled out the bat and began to smash windows in the station lobby.
Police tried to take her into custody, eventually threatening to use a Taser on her.
Following her initial court appearance, Morasse was sent to Solomon Carter Fuller Center in Boston for a competency evaluation.
The incident initially got little attention but was put back into the spotlight the following week when Beverly police Chief John LeLacheur posted about it on Twitter: "When you come into the station and find out your friend can’t be bailed please don’t take out our windows with a baseball bat and expect not to join him."
The guilty plea, to charges of malicious destruction of property valued at $1,200 or less, assault with a dangerous weapon, disorderly conduct, and witness intimidation, came after more than two hours of discussion involving Judge Emily Karstetter, prosecutor Dan Oste and Morasse's lawyer, Patrick Regan — and a month after she rejected the same proposed sentence.
During the hearing on Sept. 9, Judge Carol-Ann Fraser proposed the suspended jail sentence and probation to Morasse. However, due to what appeared to be a misunderstanding of the judge's offer, she rejected the proposal and asked for a trial.
Jurors, two Beverly police patrolmen, and a mental health expert who was expected to be a defense witness, waited for most of the morning at the courthouse as the discussions continued.
Morasse was, at the time, a client of the state's Department of Mental Health, and the apartment building where she was living was being overseen by a community services agency under contract to the state.
Regan, her attorney, had hoped during last month's hearing to continue the case without a finding, noting she had no prior record of a conviction, but had been suffering from mental illness.
Prosecutors had requested 18 months in jail, followed by probation, with another 2 1/2 year jail sentence that would be suspended.
Morasse will remain in custody, however, until someone posts her $100 bail in the still-pending human trafficking case, in which she is alleged to have played a role in exploiting another resident of the apartment complex into engaging in sexual acts with men in exchange for money.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis.