Rindge standoff suspect held without bail

  • Joshua Whitcomb of Rindge appears in Cheshire County Superior Court in Keene Thursday afternoon. Staff photo by MEGHAN PIERCE—

  • Joshua Whitcomb of Rindge appears in Cheshire County Superior Court in Keene Thursday afternoon. Staff photo by MEGHAN PIERCE

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/28/2019 8:53:23 AM

A Rindge man arrested after a standoff with police at his Birch Drive home Wednesday afternoon is being held without bail.

Joshua Whitcomb, 39, surrendered to police Wednesday afternoon after a four and a half hour standoff and was arrested on a warrant for two felonies – criminal threatening with a weapon and a domestic violence-related assault.

Whitcomb allegedly threatened and assaulted his former girlfriend at the home the night before when she came by to pick up some of her belongings, according to court documents. She had been living with Whitcomb in the home but moved out in February.

During the incident Tuesday night Whitcomb allegedly accused his former girlfriend of cheating on him, then grabbed the front of her “shirt with one hand while he grabbed a nearby shotgun with the other hand,” court documents said. “He ‘racked’ the shotgun back in order to put a round into the chamber. A shotgun shell fell to the hardwood floor” which was heard by other people in the house at the time. When they came to see what was going on they found Whitcomb holding both his former girlfriend and the shotgun, the court documents said.

Whitcomb then told his former girlfriend to leave “or I will point this gun at you again,” according to the court documents. The people told police Whitcomb was heavily intoxicated at the time.

The former girlfriend told police Whitcomb was suicidal and alcoholic and that before she left Tuesday night, “Whitcomb shook a bottle of his ‘anger’ medication pills at her and told her he was going to take them all,” court documents said.

After Whitcomb surrendered to police Wednesday, his home was searched and two shotguns were seized.

Whitcomb was held overnight at the county jail and brought before Cheshire County Superior Court Judge David Ruoff for arraignment Thursday afternoon.

Ruoff entered two pleas of not guilty and said Whitcomb would be held without bail, under the preventive detention statute, until he could be accepted into a rehabilitation program for his alcoholism. Once accepted into a program his bail would convert into personal reorganize bail, Ruoff said.

“The detention request is because … when the defendant is drinking he’s dangerous to himself and anyone he comes into contact with,” Assistant Cheshire County Attorney John Webb said when asking Ruoff to hold Whitcomb. “I think detention into rehab is the best we can hope for in this situation.”

Whitcomb’s former girlfriend appeared in court Thursday and told Ruoff she wants to be able to have contact with Whitcomb to support him in his recovery.

“I would like to see Joshua get treatment. Joshua’s a great man,” she said. “When he has the alcohol he is totally a different man. … When he got more into the alcohol our relationship started falling apart. … I just wish that he could get help.”

Ruoff complied with her request, but ordered Whitcomb to not to contact her at her home or job so that she has control over her contact with Whitcomb.

When Whitcomb’s defense attorney asked if Whitcomb could have the charges handled through Cheshire County’s Behavioral Health Court program Ruoff said he wasn’t sure the charges would be accepted into the program but said they could apply for the program and find out.

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