Spofford firefighter pleads guilty to abuse | Courts

The Spofford firefighter accused of assaulting a woman is headed to jail after reaching a plea agreement this week in Cheshire Superior Court in Keene.

Colby Howard, 21, pleaded guilty to three counts of felony second-degree assault last week, and will serve 12 months in the Cheshire House of Corrections, according to court records.

Howard, son of Keene Fire Chief Mark Howard, will be required to undergo batterer’s intervention and anger management treatment as part of his probation once he’s released.

Howard was arrested in August after the woman came forward to police. According to an affidavit written by New Hampshire State Police Trooper Kevin Pratt, she said that Howard frequently hit her in the stomach, or on the back of the head over a period of four years. She told police that he did that because it would not show bruises.

The victim said that Howard’s strangulation of her was so frequent that she sought medical attention for fear of brain damage, though she didn’t tell anyone about the abuse, according to Pratt. The woman told police she suffered a mini stroke three years ago.

The woman was prompted to go to police after a July incident in which she said Howard strangled her at his Spofford home, Pratt wrote. During the prolonged incident, Howard allegedly got out a shotgun, loaded it, and put the barrel in his own mouth, threatening to kill himself. He had at this point taken away the woman’s cellphone so that she could not call for help.Howard’s guns, which were taken by police as evidence, will be given to a designated family member upon completion of a background check, according to the plea agreement.

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