Lowell’s Neil Sylvester, 43, is a modern-day Vincent Van Gogh. No, I do not know whether or not he is an artist of any kind. I was referring to the story in which Van Gogh cut off his ear and sent it to a woman as a token of his love. Mr. Sylvester did something similar. It did not repair his relationship. It got him a new last name. The name of the “Defendant“.

You see, the Defendant has been indicted and arraigned for charges including stalking, stalking in violation of a restraining order, assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, kidnapping, four counts of violating a restraining order and three counts of witness intimidation.

His latest action in the ill-fated romance? He took out the two steel rods that had been surgically implanted in his hand and sent them to his lady-love “as a token of his love” according to law enforcement.

The rods themselves had a bit of a history. They were implanted after he had punched a courthouse wall. He was in the courthouse because his ex-girlfriend was slapping him with a restraining order. According to Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone Jr., the restraining order was in response to several months of domestic violence.

Mr. Leone praised the woman for coming forward. He claimed that the Defendant ” violently abused a female victim for several months and what is especially troubling is that he continued this abusive behavior from behind bars,..We commend the victim for coming forward to reveal this defendant’s ongoing abuse, despite her fear of retribution by (the Defendant)”, he announced. He continued with, “In coming forward, she enabled us to investigate and charge (the Defendant) with further crimes of intimidation and violation of the restraining order. We understand that there are a variety of reasons why a victim may be hesitant to disclose abuse and we continue work with victims to remove the barriers against disclosure and empower them to access ways to break the cycle of violence.”

At the arraignment, prosecutors outlined the history of the Defendant and his ex. They said that the two had dated previously, during which time the Defendant “verbally, physically, and emotionally abused” her. The alleged abuse culminated in January when she tried to break the relationship off, according to authorities. The Defendant, prosecutors said, “became violent and punched the victim in the face and grabbed her by the throat. He allegedly held a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her,” while holding her hostage in their apartment.
Following his arrest for that, and upon learning the woman had obtained a restraining order against him, prosecutors said the Defendant fractured his hand punching a wall in Lowell District Court. He required surgery and the steel rods to repair the damage.

While in custody, prosecutors said, the Defendant called the woman “hundreds of times and sent her numerous letters,” encouraging her to drop the very restraining order he was violating. Finally, on August 6th, the woman received a letter from the Defendant which prosecutors say “contained the two metal rods that he had pulled out of his hand and mailed to her as a token of his love.”

Attorney Sam’s Take on “Loving” Breeches Of Restraining Orders

As we have discussed many times in these daily blogs, the Commonwealth reacts strongly to allegations of domestic abuse. One of the first steps in such cases is to advise the complainant to obtain a restraining order which is then served on the defendant.

When a defendant is served with a restraining order, said order usually commands him to have no contact with the complainant whatsoever. This is one of the documents in the legal system which generally sets forth quite clearly what is meant by “no contact”.

It does not say “no violent contact”. It does not read “No contact, unless you are going to be nice about it.” It does not even indicate “no contact unless it is part of the professing of love”.

It says, and means, “No contact”. In fact, it forbids indirect contact as well as direct contact.

Of course, it would appear that criminal charges had already been brought against the Defendant for the initial domestic abuse. It is typical in such cases for the judge to order, with or without a restraining order, a defendant to stay away from the complainant. To violate the order is to commit a crime, just as is violating the restraining order given in a different procedure.

As a result of the history of this case, the Defendant is not merely facing domestic violence charges in the district court. He is facing a variety of indictments in the superior court.

This means big potential exposure in terms of incarceration.

On the other hand, I sense some kind of insanity type plea coming down the pike.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Yesterday, I indicated that I was open to responding to emails sent on the topic of sexual assault cases if they were sent to the email address of Samuel@sbgoldberg.com. Since then, I have learned that the address is not working properly. I apologize and ask that you send any such requests to attygoldberg@aol.com for now. I will incorporate such questions as I continue on the sexual assault discussion at the end of this week.

For the original article upon which this blog is based, please go to http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1061175020&srvc=rss

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