BRENTWOOD — A former Market Basket employee accused of attacking a female co-worker in a break room may claim he was insane at the time of the alleged assault, according to his lawyer.
Public defenders for Samuel Woods, 21, informed a Rockingham County superior court judge about the possible insanity defense prior to his trial on two counts of second-degree assault.
Woods, of Newmarket, is accused of assaulting a 17-year-old girl on March 5 inside a break room at the Epping store on Route 125.
Public defender Kevin O’Keefe said in court papers that his client was suffering from mental illness at the time of the alleged assault.
A forensic examiner concluded that Woods is competent to stand trial, but “various psychiatrists have diagnosed Mr. Woods with bipolar disorder, impulsive control disorder and pervasive development disorder,” O’Keefe said in court papers. “Mr. Woods has been a Seacoast Mental Health client since he was 13 years of age.”
Epping police said that they were called to the grocery store to investigate a report that the girl had been punched repeatedly in the face and choked until she became unconscious.
Woods told police following his arrest that he did not know the girl well and had no reason to attack her. Woods also claimed to have “had issues with women since he was young and has acted out violently before by attacking a teacher. He said he is under the care of a psychologist and is prescribed medication,” a police affidavit said.
Police obtained video footage of the alleged assault from security cameras in the break room. The footage shows the girl sitting at the table eating while facing a hallway, the affidavit said.
Woods is seen entering the room and running at the teenage girl “with his hands open in a choking fashion,” according to the affidavit.
Woods then dove over the table, grabbed the girl by the neck and forced her to the floor, police said. He allegedly punched the girl several times. Prosecutors say the victim suffered a concussion during the attack.
Woods went into the bathroom after the assault and briefly returned to the break room before leaving, according to police.
He then took off his shoes and jumped off a second-floor platform near a stock room, police said. Woods jumped off the platform, landing by wooden dollies about 18 feet below. He later told police that “something evil came over him” before going after the girl, the affidavit said.
Woods remains held at the Rockingham County jail in Brentwood. No trial date has been set.