Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced today that a 44-year-old repeat domestic batterer has been sentenced to serve five to seven years in state prison along with two years of probation after his release for strangling his girlfriend.

Paul Powers, of New Bedford, pleaded guilty in Fall River Superior Court to three indictments charging him with strangulation or suffocation, subsequent offense, assault and battery on a family/household member, and intimidation of a witness. Assistant District Attorney Courtney Cahill argued for the five to seven year state prison sentence with probation after release while defense attorney Michele Rioux argued for a three year to three year and one day state prison sentence. Judge Rene Dupuis accepted the Commonwealth’s recommendation due to the defendant’s history of violence towards the victim. The defendant was also ordered to complete domestic batterer’s counseling.

On November 10, 2016, New Bedford Police were called to a residence for a report of a male choking a female. Upon arrival, witnesses told police the defendant had been beating the female victim. Police located the victim inside the home where she explained that she and the defendant had been engaged in a verbal argument when he grabbed her by the throat and choked her. She could not breathe and felt like she was going to pass out. The victim was able to break his grasp twice but each time he began choking her again. She was able to get away and run outside where the defendant chased her and again began to choke her until she passed out. Witnesses nearby were able to come to the victim’s assistance and stated to police that the defendant punched the victim multiple times while she was unconscious.

On the date of offense, the defendant had only been on the street for three weeks after pleading guilty and being placed on probation for strangling the same victim in August. The victim and defendant had only been in a dating relationship for six months and the victim had an active restraining order against the defendant.

“Being on probation for the same offense and having a restraining order against him did not stop the defendant from repeatedly strangling the victim,” District Attorney Quinn said. “This seven year sentence will protect the victim and keep this very violent and dangerous individual off the streets for a long time. There is no other alternative."

--Bristol County District Attorney's Office