Passersby Assist Woman Who Was Being Beaten By Boyfriend – Suspect Held on $50,000 Bail
At about 9 o'clock. on Saturday night, two passersby in the 3700 block of Russell Street saw a woman apparently being beaten by a man. They stopped to render assistance and the alleged assailant fled the scene.
Court documents indicate that the defendant, 37 year-old Michael Leonardini, physically attacked the victim while walking to a store to purchase alcohol. When he allegedly called her vulgar names, she told him 'she didn't want to live like that anymore', at which point he said 'that was the wrong thing to say', and physically attacked her.
Missoula Police officers contacted Leonardini, who appeared to be heavily intoxicated. He claimed the the incident was not physical, but only a 'verbal assault'. Leonardini was later charged with his third partner or family member assault, which is a felony.
At his appearance in Missoula Justice Court on Monday, Deputy County Attorney Brittany Santorno said the victim was sure that Leonardini would not have stopped without the intervention.
"The victim indicated that the defendant punched and slapped her multiple times, he also grabber her by her hair and twisted her neck, all of this causing her pain," Santorno said. "In addition, this defendant has five prior assault convictions, including one felony assault. This public attack was so severe that two separate people felt compelled to call law enforcement."
Leonardini, who admitted he was schizophrenic, has reportedly been off his medication for over five years.
Substitute Justice of the Peace Ryan Phelan set bail at $50,000, and remanded Leonardini back to the jail.