Defense attorney makes impassioned plea for Amherst home invasion suspect’s release

  • Patrick Bemben

Thursday, January 19, 2017

NORTHAMPTON — The defense attorney for a 25-year-old Hadley man accused of “filleting” a man’s arm during an alleged home invasion in October told a judge Tuesday that his client, Patrick Bemben, suffers from a crippling opiate addiction.

His shot at recovery, attorney David Hoose said, becomes more bleak should he remain jailed leading up to his trial.

“I don’t think any of us are naive enough to think he’s out of the woods here,” Hoose told Judge Mark Mason in arguing for bail. “He has a long way to go. The next level of care he needs he’s not going to get at the Hampshire House of Correction.”

Bemben pleaded not guilty at his Hampshire Superior Court arraignment to charges of conspiracy to commit home invasion, conspiracy to commit armed masked robbery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious injury, three counts of armed masked robbery, nighttime breaking and entering with intent to commit a felony, larceny from a building and use of body armor during a felony. Bemben has been held without bail since his Oct. 30 arrest.

Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Steven Gagne said that, if Bemben were released, there was no sure way to guarantee the safety of the alleged victims in the case. Hoose, however, argued that Bemben wasn’t dangerous — he was an addict.

“His parents, both of whom are in the courtroom, have invested a lot of money in this kid,” Hoose said, adding that the two were prepared to mortgage their retirements to foot the bill for treatment and the $25,000 bail he was requesting.

“I tell you, judge, I’m as confident as anything I’ve said in this courtroom before, that this young man is not going to let them down,” he said.

Bemben and the attorneys are expected to return to court Wednesday afternoon where they’ll learn the judge’s decision.

Prosecutors say Bemben, originally from Hadley, and three other men donned tactical gear, brandished weapons — including a hatchet and a handgun — and ascended the driveway of a Southeast Street residence in Amherst and ransacked the home for drugs and valuables. But before they made it inside, a brawl broke out between the masked suspects and at least two other men who lived there, Gagne said in court.

One resident’s arm was badly slashed, Gagne said — so much so it had practically been “filleted” and later required surgery. The other told police he was pistol-whipped.

Sometime during the confrontation, Bemben took a blow from a baseball bat to the right side of his face, which severed part of his ear, defense counsel told the judge.

In a wooded area behind the home, police said they recovered numerous items relating to the growing and production of marijuana. Authorities also uncovered a large plastic container with more than a pound of marijuana at the scene.

Bemben tripped while attempting to run from police, Gagne said, and was arrested. At the hospital, where Bemben was interviewed, he reportedly told authorities that he and the others planned the home invasion with the intent of scoring marijuana, the stimulant Molly, wax (marijuana resin), cash and drug-manufacturing materials.

Back in court, Hoose assured Judge Mason of the steadfast confidence he — and Bemben’s friends and family, at least two dozen of whom were in court Tuesday — placed in his client.

“He’s not going to let anyone down,” Hoose said.

Michael Majchrowicz can be reached at mmajchrowicz@gazettenet.com.