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Lebanon Couple Plead Not Guilty to Assault Charge

In Grafton Superior Court in North Haverhill, N.H., on Oct. 9, 2013, David Collins, right,  looks over paperwork with Adam Hescock, Collins' court-appointed attorney. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck)

In Grafton Superior Court in North Haverhill, N.H., on Oct. 9, 2013, David Collins, right, looks over paperwork with Adam Hescock, Collins' court-appointed attorney. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »

North Haverhill — A Lebanon couple pleaded not guilty to an assault charge and hitting another person in the head with a hammer.

David Collins, 31, and Natalie Collins, 27, each face three charges in Grafton Superior Court relating to an incident that occurred in late July in Lebanon at a thrift store they operated.

The Collinses were arrested in late July at their store, Keep It Real Bartering Barn on High Street, which at the time had only been open a couple of weeks. Police allege that Natalie Collins used pepper spray on two other people and David Collins struck another man with a hammer after an argument that orginated during a cookout at the store and escalated at a nearby property.

David Collins was indicted last month by the Grafton Superior Court grand jury for criminal threatening, first degree assault and second degree assault — all felony charges. Collins allegedly threatened John Justin Demers by making a comment to the effect of, “You’re going to die tonight,” before allegedly striking Demers in the head with a hammer.

The indictments state that David Collins recklessly and knowingly caused bodily injury to Demers — a laceration to the head — by hitting him in the head with the tool.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt, but a tool for prosecutors to continue with criminal cases.

Natalie Collins was indicted last month on two charges of misdemeanor simple assault and one charge of second degree assault.

Natalie Collins allegedly had “unprivileged physical contact” with Demers and another person, Molly Smith, by pepper spraying them at a location on Mascoma Street. The indictments allege that the pepper spraying rendered Demers incapable of defending himself.

Natalie Collins waived her arraignment before it was scheduled Wednesday and entered a not guilty plea. She has retained Charlie Buttrey, a Lebanon attorney, to represent her. Natalie Collins had previously posted a $15,000 personal recognizance bond.

David Collins also entered a not guilty plea and waived his arraignment on Wednesday in Grafton Superior Court. Collins previously posted a $10,000 cash bail in Lebanon District Court.

David Collins walked into Grafton Superior Court on Wednesday wearing a purple collared shirt and carrying a toddler. He was accompanied by two other women. He declined to comment after meeting with his court-appointed attorney.

The Keep It Real Bartering Barn’s location on High Street is now vacant.

Sarah Brubeck can be reached at sbrubeck@vnews.com.