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November 7, 2002

Bond raised for Newington man

From: New Britain Herald, CT
Nov. 7, 2002

By KRISTEN A. TURICK, Special to The Herald

BRISTOL -- A Newington man who admitted to showing his ex-girlfriend the American Sign Language sign for "I love you" had his bond raised Wednesday in Bristol Superior Court for violating the protective order that dictated he have no contact with the woman.

Preston Middleton, 30, was charged July 19 by Southington police with second-degree breach of peace and third-degree assault after allegedly beating up his then-girlfriend. He was issued a protective order that barred him from having any contact with the woman and allegedly violated it in August when the two met to talk.

In August, Middleton's bond of $75,000 from his July arraignment was raised by $10,000 or 10 percent cash, according to court records.

Middleton's bond was raised by another $15,000 Wednesday after the alleged victim testified that he tailgated her vehicle and made the sign for "I love you" toward her on the Berlin Turnpike.

"As soon as I knew it was him, I just started shaking and started crying," the woman said during her testimony.

Middleton also testified and denied tailgating her vehicle, but said that he did make the "I love you" sign. He said his sister is deaf and it's a sign commonly used in his family.

Attorney Brian Carey, who represented Middleton, argued that his client did not violate the no-contact order in the situation.

"There's no intent to make any contact in this matter. The only thing he's done here is he waved to her," Carey said. "The total contact that was involved here was the hand gesture ..I don't think it's proper to give him a substantial raise in his bond because of that."

Judge Elizabeth Bozzuto ordered Middleton's bond increased by $15,000 and told him to continue to follow the conditions of his release, which include the protective order and electronic monitoring that allows him to leave his home only for work and court.

Middleton, who was bonded out before the end of the day, is scheduled to return to court on Dec. 10.

©The Herald 2002