A Baton Rouge man who in the past 17 months has been arrested four times and was imprisoned for abusing the same woman was ordered held without bail Tuesday after allegedly choking her into unconsciousness last week, hours after he was released from prison.
Citing Chaddrick B. Piper’s “danger to society,” Judge Mike Erwin denied bail for the 34-year-old man, noting that Piper is accused of attacking his ex-girlfriend last week on the same day that he was released on parole from the state prison. He was serving time after pleading guilty in December to attacking her four times since October 2013.
Piper was arrested Thursday in Iberville Parish and booked the next day into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on counts of domestic abuse battery with strangulation, home invasion and violation of a protective order.
Before asking Erwin to hold Piper without bail, prosecutor Melanie Fields listed some details of Piper’s criminal history, including his most recent felony domestic abuse battery with strangulation conviction and several other recent misdemeanor convictions.
Domestic abuse battery with strangulation carries the possibility of increased prison time upon conviction because it represents a “significant risk factor” of increased levels of violence, Fields said previously.
The prosecutor also made note during Tuesday’s hearing of an incident in Virginia in which Piper pleaded guilty in 2002 to felony domestic violence charges.
In that instance, according to records provided by the Office of the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney on Tuesday, Piper was accused of causing injuries to his infant son, Kharell, that eventually contributed to the boy’s death.
The boy’s injuries, including retinal hemorrhaging, bleeding around the brain, a broken clavicle and a fractured knee and wrist were results of “shaken baby syndrome,” according to a prosecutor’s report.
“Kharell’s injuries were inflicted on him during the time (Piper’s girlfriend at the time) was at work and (Piper) was at home alone taking care of Kharell,” the report says.
Piper also was accused of punching the child’s mother in the face during an argument before she left for work that day in November 2001, the report says. He was charged with felony “domestic assault and battery” and subsequently convicted. Piper also pleaded guilty to a felony “malicious wounding” charge related to his son’s injuries.
Under Virginia law at the time, the charge could not be upgraded after Kharell’s death because the boy’s death occurred more than a year and a day after the incident occurred, said Amanda Howie, a spokeswoman for the Norfolk prosecutor’s office. The state’s law has since been changed to allow for such upgrades, Howie said.
Piper was sentenced to 11 years in prison for the two pleas, but six of the years were suspended, and it’s unclear how much time he actually served.
Sometime after Fields told the judge about Piper’s criminal history, Piper, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, said, “That’s not what happened in Virginia.”
At another point when the most recent accusations were being discussed, he also said, “That’s not what happened.”
Before Piper’s case was called, he sat in the courtroom and would often turn his gaze on the victim, Breah Monday, and stare at her.
Monday, the 26-year-old woman Piper is accused of choking after his release from prison last week, said after Tuesday’s hearing that she was “happy he has no bond.”
“But it doesn’t change the fact that I will never be the same,” Monday said. “I’m emotionally, mentally and physically scarred for the rest of my life.”
Fields, the parish’s lead domestic violence prosecutor, said her request to keep Piper jailed without bail was not unprecedented. In fact, she made the same request earlier Tuesday during a hearing for a different man accused of attacking his estranged wife while he was out of jail on bail.
“In general, our office has made that request since the new law went into place, and it has been granted,” said Fields, referencing the passage of “Gwen’s Law” last year. The new law allows judges to hold pretrial inmates without bail if the arrestee is accused of felony domestic abuse and the arrestee represents an “imminent danger” to the victim or the community at large, among other reasons.
Fields said prosecutors “use discretion” when asking for the special restriction, reserving it for occasions when the arrestee is “truly a risk to that victim or others.”
In an interview on Friday, the parish’s district attorney, Hillar Moore III, said the law created a useful tool for prosecutors in special domestic violence cases.
As for the most recent allegations made against Piper, who Moore described as “on everybody’s radar,” the district attorney said, “We’ll exercise all options that we can.”
Follow Ben Wallace on Twitter, @_BenWallace.