Court process begins for man accused in attack of pregnant woman, mom  

ALLISON CORNEAU/Staff photoJake Kavanaugh of Haverhill in court

A Haverhill man accused of attacking a pregnant woman and her mother now has court hearings scheduled to determine his mental competency and the dangers he poses to himself and others. 

Jake Kavanaugh, 23, was formally arraigned last week in Salem Superior Court following his indictment on a variety of violent charges, including armed assault to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, mayhem, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. 

The indictment means his case now moves from district court to superior court, where the penalties he faces are more severe. 

On March 3, Kavanaugh drove his car into Janet Blanchard, 54, and her pregnant daughter, Geena Sindoni, 26, while the women were out for a walk in Haverhill near the Salem, New Hampshire line, police said. 

Kavanaugh then attacked Blanchard with a box cutter, police said.

Both women were injured but survived. 

Kavanaugh was ordered held without bail last Tuesday following his arraignment before Judge Kathleen McCarthy-Neyman. 

Prosecutors said they wanted a hearing to determine whether Kavanaugh is a danger to himself or the community. Meanwhile, his defense attorney indicated Kavanaugh’s mental competency to stand trial remains an issue. 

A hearing on both matters is scheduled for June 15. 

Kavanaugh is being held at Bridgewater State Hospital, where he was sent for a mental health evaluation after his initial arraignment in Haverhill District Court. 

He is represented by defense attorneys Karen Goldenberg and Kayla Wheaton, who filed their appearances with the court last Tuesday. 

On March 3, the victims were walking Blanchard’s French bulldog, Roxie, and Sindoni’s Rottweiler-German shepherd, Riley, when a car driven by Kavanaugh struck Blanchard twice, according to police.

Sindoni, who was five months pregnant at the time, was able to run into the woods to nearby Salem, New Hampshire, to get help, police said.

After the crash, Kavanaugh stepped out of the car and used a box cutter to attack Blanchard, stabbing her neck and eyes, the police report said.

Kavanaugh ignored commands to stop the attack and his hands and forearms were covered with blood, according to the first officer to arrive on the scene. 

Kavanaugh glared at the officer with a “1,000 yard stare,” a police report states, meaning he had a look of being emotionally far away.

Police said they later questioned Kavanaugh at Holy Family Hospital in Haverhill, but he would not answer or explain what happened. His only statement was, “It’s not going to matter,” according to the report.

Kavanaugh was driving a 2007 Audi A6 sedan registered to his father, Thomas Kavanaugh, according to police. Jake Kavanaugh had a valid driver’s license, police said.

 

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