The 23-year-old man charged in Wednesday’s attack on his neighbors allegedly ran down a mother and pregnant daughter—ages 54 and 26—with his car, got out to stab the older woman in the neck and tried to stab out her eyes.
Jake T. Kavanaugh, of 15 Fairview Farm Road, Haverhill, was ordered held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing at his arraignment Thursday in Haverhill District Court. First Justice Cesar A. Archilla also ordered a mental health evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital and called for Kavanaugh to return to court Tuesday, March 23. Kavanaugh pleaded not guilty to 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.
A witness said he was driving by when he saw a gray Audi sedan off the side of the road into a tree and a man stabbing a woman with a box cutter and appeared to be “cutting the woman’s neck off.”
Haverhill Police Officer Katelyn Tully reported that Salem. N.H., Police and Fire were already on scene at 4:45 p.m. when she arrived at Fairview Farm Road. Salem had transferred an emergency 911 call to Haverhill and also responded. A Salem firefighter was tending to the older woman “who appeared to be unconscious.” Before being taken to Lawrence General Hospital, police said, the daughter told her sister that while out walking their two dogs, she heard her mother gasp just as they were both struck by the Audi on Fairview Farm Road. She said the car turned around and hit them again. She later recounted the story in a hospital interview with police, adding she believed Kavanaugh, who’s car had become stuck in the snow after the second strike, was “trying to kill her.”
A man flagged down Salem, N.H., police and alerted them the daughter was safely in his back seat after running frantically in the snow, bleeding from her face and describing being struck twice by a car. Salem Police Officer Michael A. Cummings then reported he found Kavanaugh on top of the unconscious woman, “clenching” her and there was a box cutter in the woman’s “carotid artery portion of her neck.” Cummings, who at first did not know whether the man was providing aid, reported Kavanaugh looked at him with a “blank, thousand-mile stare.” Cummings pulled Kavanaugh off, handcuffed him and began providing aid to the woman.
The older woman, was first taken to Lawrence General Hospital and then airlifted to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston with, what were described as, “life-threatening injuries.”
According to a police report, the daughter, who had lost her glasses and her phone, said she thought at first someone might be trying to steal the French Bulldog. She also remembered an accident about a year ago where Kavanaugh was driving his father’s car and struck a vehicle in her driveway. Police said, “She did not feel as though the prior accident would have resulted in this type of retaliation or any bad blood.”
In a hospital interview, police described Kavanaugh as “lethargic” at times, wouldn’t answer questions and said only, “It’s not going to matter.”
Another neighbor told police he was alerted to the happening around 5 p.m. when he heard two dogs barking. He said the dogs were with two other teens who said they took them when they saw “a man and woman arguing.” The neighbor also told police he knew Kavanaugh when he was younger, but believed “he abused prescription pills.”