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Man gets suspended sentence after pleading guilty to domestic assault

  • David Fielding of Northfield is led into Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord on Wednesday, May 9, 2018. He pleaded guilty to a felony and a misdemeanor for David Fielding of Northfield pistol-whipping his partner last January. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • David Fielding of Northfield is led into Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord on Wednesday, May 9, 2018. He pleaded guilty to a felony and a misdemeanor for David Fielding of Northfield pistol-whipping his partner last January. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • David Fielding of Northfield is led away at Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord on Wednesday, May 9, 2018. He pleaded guilty to a felony and a misdemeanor for David Fielding of Northfield pistol-whipping his partner last January. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Wednesday, May 09, 2018

A Northfield man facing 3½ to 7 years in state prison for beating his girlfriend with a pistol earlier this year was sentenced to 105 days in the county jail and will have the rest of his sentence suspended.

David Fielding, 35, pleaded guilty to one felony and one misdemeanor count of domestic violence for pistol-whipping his girlfriend. He was sentenced in Merrimack Superior Court Wednesday to time in the county jail, with the rest of a one-year sentence suspended upon good behavior, and two years of probation.

Fielding also has another one-year suspended sentence hanging over his head that would be served consecutively to the felony sentence, if he doesn’t stay out of trouble, Merrimack County assistant attorney Melinda Siranian said.

The lightness of the sentence did not escape Merrimack County Superior Court Judge Robert McNamara.

“I’ll take the plea,” McNamara said, “but for a six-foot, 230-pound man to do something like this – this is a serious offense.”

Fielding was charged with hitting his girlfriend in the head with a pistol while traveling from Tilton to Northfield on Jan. 25, once in the car and again at their home, according to court documents. The force of the blow caused the woman to “see stars,” and she suffered an open wound to her head that required staples to close, according to court records.

Fielding was also convicted of grabbing the woman by the arms and chest on Jan. 14. She suffered bruises and abrasions from the assault, Siranian said.

Police say Fielding fled the Northfield home after the early-morning assault and attempted to avoid apprehension by hiding out inside a Franklin residence. Fielding was ultimately taken into custody after a six-hour standoff with police, who surrounded the property and used tear gas to force him out.

Prosecutors agree the crime is severe, but the fully-negotiated plea was reached with input from the abuse survivor and based on Fielding’s “relatively light” criminal record in New Hampshire, which includes a DWI in 2013. In Massachusetts, Fielding has a prior assault and battery charge from 2012 and a driving-related offense from 2005, Siranian said.

The sentence will allow Fielding to “take advantage of programs available in the community,” Siranian said. In addition to the jail sentence, Fielding will have to undergo counseling and anger management courses.

McNamara said he hoped the sentencing would allow everyone to move forward. 

“You’ve gotten a favorable plea bargain,” he said to Fielding, “but this is not something to be proud of. ...It’s something to move forward from.”

(Caitlin Andrews can be reached at 369-3309, candrews@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @ActualCAndrews.)