BRENTWOOD — A local man will spend 18 months in a Massachusetts jail after accepting a plea deal where prosecutors agreed to drop an attempted murder charge filed against him.
Thomas F. Rago, 50, of Brentwood, pleaded guilty at Newburyport District Court last week to two counts of strangulation — assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and threatening to commit crime.
Rago was arrested by Salisbury, Massachusetts, police in July for allegedly trying to strangle an acquaintance with a bath towel at a local motel.
Rago was sentenced by Judge Peter Doyle to two and a half years, with 18 months to be served and the balance suspended for two years, on the condition Rago have no contact with the victim and stay out of trouble. Rago was given credit for time served since he was held without bail following the incident.
By pleading guilty to the lesser charges, the more serious charge of attempted murder was dropped by prosecutors, as was the charge of trespass, according to Carrie Kimball, spokesperson for Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett.
Rago was arraigned on July 20 at Newburyport District Court after Salisbury police responded to the Salisbury Inn the evening of July 19, following a call from a man who alleged Rago strangled him with a towel.
According to police reports, the incident took place when an allegedly intoxicated Rago returned to the room he and the victim shared after he’d been told to stay away because of a prior argument between the two.
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After the alleged victim was able to free himself from the towel, according to reports, Rago allegedly tried to suffocate him and threatened to kill him, before leaving the apartment with his belongings. Salisbury police found and arrested Rago shortly afterward walking along Beach Road in Salisbury, according to published reports.
This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Brentwood NH man reaches plea deal to drop attempted murder charge