Lebanon man charged in alleged hatchet assault

Staff Report
Published: 12/9/2019 9:47:53 PM

LEBANON — A 30-year-old Lebanon man is facing charges after police say he used a hatchet to cut the neck of his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend last weekend.

Benjamin Cass pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Monday on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and falsifying evidence following the incident Saturday. Grafton Superior Judge Lawrence MacLeod ordered that Cass be released on a $20,000 bail and on the condition that he stay away from the alleged victim.

Police said they arrived at a home at 48 Mechanic St. around noon on Saturday after getting calls about a man trying to fight people with an ax.

Cass initially told police that he was the victim but after police talked to two other men involved, they realized that Cass was the attacker, according to a complaint written by a Lebanon police officer.

The man who was injured, Jason Thurston, told police that he and Cass had gotten into a confrontation over Cass’s ex-girlfriend, which ended with Cass grabbing Thurston’s shirt and holding a hatchet up to his neck, the complaint said.

Cass drew the hatchet across Thurston’s neck causing a “minor laceration,” Lebanon police said in a news release.

Thurston told police that Cass threw the hatchet into the snow off the driveway, the complaint said.

Officers arrested Cass and took him to the police department, where he violated one of his bail conditions by calling a woman he was told to have no contact with, the release said.

When the assault happened, Cass was out on bail for a previous arrest on an arson charge from July. In that case he was accused of starting a fire pit in the middle of his basement apartment in Lebanon, according to a complaint written by Lebanon Sgt. Jeffrey Perkins.

In a proposed bail order filed Monday, prosecutors argued that Cass should be held without bail, calling him a danger to the community because he committed one crime while awaiting trial for another.

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