NH man pleads guilty to brutal attack on Lawrence woman

·2 min read

Sep. 28—SALEM, Mass. — A Salem, New Hampshire, man has pleaded guilty to brutally beating a Lawrence woman and leaving her in the woods behind the South Lawrence East School in the spring of 2019.

Michael Doyle, 34, was initially charged with attempted murder but the charge was not prosecuted, according to court records.

However, Doyle did plead guilty to charges of suffocation and strangulation, assault and battery resulting in serious bodily injury and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on Monday in Salem Superior Court, according to court records.

Judge James Lang sentenced Doyle to serve five to seven years in state prison at MCI-Cedar Junction. Doyle was given credit for 679 days he has already served in jail while awaiting trial.

Also, Lang ordered Doyle to serve five years on probation following his release. He must undergo substance abuse evaluation and treatment and stay away and have no contact with the victim, according to court records.

Police said previously Doyle confessed to beating and leaving the woman in the woods behind the school during a torrential rain storm April 27, 2019.

He had no idea if the 35-year-old woman had survived until he was arrested and charged by Lawrence detectives in November 2019, authorities said.

The woman suffered serious injuries in the attack, including a brain bleed, facial bone fractures and eye injuries which required surgery.

The woman he is accused of assaulting was a random stranger, authorities said.

"I did something stupid. I snapped. It was very stupid," Doyle told detectives Carmen Purpora and Paul Aliano, who investigated the woman's beating, according to a report.

Detectives investigated the beating for more than six-and-half months, with help from the victim, who they described as "extremely courageous." They also used surveillance video, police said.

During the attack the woman managed to kick Doyle in the genitals after which "he choked her." During questioning he admitted he held his hands around her neck "too long," a prosecutor said previously.

Seriously injured, she awoke on the path several hours later in the early morning darkness. She was "soaked to the bone and alone" but started screaming and was able to alert area residents who called 911, police said.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Kate MacDougall. Amy Smith was Doyle's defense attorney.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.

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