Breckenridge courts: Alleged victim of hatchet attack asks to attend church with accused husband
A judge ruled Monday to allow Michael Newcomb, who is accused of attempting to kill his wife with a hatchet, limited contact with the alleged victim after she asked to have a restraining order against him lifted.
Newcomb, 43, is now permitted to attend church and communicate by phone and in writing with his wife, who told the court she wants to be there to help her husband.
“I want to ease into it,” Judge Karen Romeo told Newcomb at a hearing Monday. “I feel that will, in a way, honor her wishes to support, rebuild and mend, but also with some protection.”
In January, investigators say Newcomb struck his wife in the head with a hatchet during an argument at their home in Dillon Valley East in January. He then allegedly hit her in the head with a metal pipe that was being used as a door stop, causing a wound that required stitches.
His wife, who in court appeared to have recovered from her injuries, told the judge Newcomb had been in an alcohol-fueled rage the night of the incident and that she had heard through his family that he was sorry for what he had done.
However, prosecutors opposed the motion to lift the restraining order, saying Newcomb appeared to remember the details of the incident and had not shown any remorse.
“Having listened to a number of jail recordings, I don’t see Mr. Newcomb being so intoxicated that he doesn’t remember what happened — he recounted it over and over again. … What I heard was the defendant blaming the victim for what happened,” assistant district attorney Christine Word said in court Monday. “It’s a miracle she’s not dead.”
Newcomb did express regret for what happened in court Monday, and became emotional when his wife dissolved into tears while addressing the judge.
“I’m deeply remorseful,” he said. “I’m beside myself with disbelief for what I’ve done.”
He is facing charges of attempted murder, two counts of felony menacing and a single count of second-degree assault.
He has not yet entered a plea, but his family has refuted authorities’ account of events in his arrest affidavit, maintaining that Newcomb acted in self-defense.
He was arrested Jan. 31, after a neighbor reportedly heard a scuffle and a woman screaming in their home and interrupted the fight.
Newcomb was reportedly arrested in Las Vegas after an incident involving domestic violence, but the charges were later dropped, prosecutors said.
Murder is a rare crime in Summit County, but of the handful of homicides that have occurred in recent years, most were related to drunken driving or domestic violence.
In 2010, a Silverthorne woman was murdered by her husband just weeks after she asked a judge to lift a restraining order against him. At Dale Bruner’s trial, prosecution witness and Advocates for Victims of Assault told the jury their relationship had followed the classic patterns of abuse, with the victim pulling back after an incident and then relenting and returning to her abuser.
Bruner is now serving a 112-year sentence in the Colorado Department of Corrections.
In court, Newcomb’s wife said they have been together for three years and married a little more than 6 months.
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