Tamworth man faces charges following a standoff and alleged attack on girlfriend
August 12, 2010
TAMWORTH — A Tamworth man has pleaded not guilty to several charges stemming from an alleged brutal attack on his live-in girlfriend early on the morning of Monday Aug. 9. A SWAT team apprehended him after a seven-hour standoff with law enforcement. Police rescued the woman and her toddler and also seized numerous sticks of dynamite, which were later disposed of.
Matthew Stewart, 24, of Tamworth pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of false imprisonment and simple assault in Ossipee District Court on Aug. 9. He also faces a felony reckless conduct charge. By law, defendants don't enter pleas on felony charges in District Court. More charges are pending. Stewart was to be held on $50,000 cash or surety. His next court date is scheduled for Aug. 19. If released, Stewart is prohibited from coming within 100 yards of Colantuone.
The incident was first reported to police at 1:41 a.m., when State and Tamworth Police got a domestic violence report at Stewart and Colantuone's home at 51 Main Street. State Police arrived within three minutes and found 20-year-old Crystal Colantuone running barefoot down the street.
"She was hysterical," wrote Trooper James Fogarty in a police affidavit. "She was crying and explained that Stewart was at the residence and he had assaulted her and threatened to kill himself with a firearm. She said her 15-month-old son was still in the residence."
Colantuone said an intoxicated Stewart had returned home from a party and they argued over the cleanliness of the apartment. They went into the basement bedroom and Stewart punched the wall next to her head. Then he got on top of her with the gun.
"She said she became very frightened and covered her face. She said that she heard him load a pistol and rack the slide back," wrote Fogarty. "She said it was so close to her head that she could feel the wind from the slide going forward. She said that he whispered in her ear 'I'm going to put a bullet in my brain.'"
Then she said that he got out of bed and went upstairs. Colantuone said minutes later, she went upstairs to leave but he wouldn't let her. She was halfway out the door and Stewart closed the door against her head and torso.
After getting outside, she text messaged a friend for help and the friend called police. Meanwhile, Stewart began making threats about having her son taken away. When he went back inside, she took off running.
Police entered the home and unsuccessfully attempted to get Stewart to surrender.
He wouldn't respond. However, they did find Colantuone's son in his crib. At the foot of the basement stairs they also found two shotguns. Colantuone said that he was inside with several guns and incendiary devices. Police also learned about eight-quarter sticks of dynamite in a Black Saab 900 parked in the driveway, wrote Fogarty.
Stewart surrendered at 8:45 a.m. At the time, officers from a New Hampshire State Police SWAT team, Moultonborough Police, Ossipee Police, surrounded his home. The Belknap County Sheriff's Office provided a BearCat tactical assault vehicle.