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Second suspect in UMass armed assault submits not guilty plea

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(Framingham Police)

(Framingham Police)

BELCHERTOWN — Shawn T. Wyatt, 22, of Framingham was arraigned in Eastern Hampshire District Court Wednesday in connection with an armed assault that took place in the Pierpont Residential Hall in the University of Massachusetts campus on Feb. 18.

Wyatt, who is charged with armed robbery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery in connection to the incident, submitted a plea of not guilty after entering the court shortly after 11:15 a.m. He will return to court for a dangerousness hearing on March 22.

According to First Assistant District Attorney Steven Gagne, the hearing will be used to “determine whether there are any conditions that could be placed on his release that would ensure the safety of the community, or whether he should instead be held without bail until trial.”

The Commonwealth, he said, will produce evidence to convince the judge that Wyatt is too dangerous to release. However, it has yet to be determined whether the Commonwealth will call witnesses.

By agreement of attorneys, Wyatt will be held without the right to post bail according to Northampton Attorney John Drake, who was appointed by the court to represent Wyatt. Drake said he does not intend to call witnesses on Tuesday.

During Wednesday’s arraignment, Assistant District Attorney Bob Opsitnick represented the Commonwealth.

Wyatt was also arraigned on Tuesday in Framingham District Court after turning himself in to police custody.

Wyatt is the second suspect to be charged in connection to the Feb. 18 armed assault.

The first suspect, William McKeown, 19, also of Framingham, turned himself in to the Framingham Police on Feb. 19 after being charged with the same crimes as Wyatt. McKeown is currently out on a $7,500 bail, which he posted on Feb. 24, and his pretrial conference is set for April 11.

The armed assault incident resulted in a complete lockdown of the UMass campus. While orders to shelter in place were in effect, the UMass Police Department searched for the suspects in Pierpont. However, both suspects had fled the scene prior to the arrival of UMPD.

Northwestern First Assistant District Attorney Steven Gagne amended the criminal complaint against McKeown on Feb. 24 after learning that McKeown possessed a BB gun on the night of the assault, instead of a firearm as was earlier suspected. Under Judge Thomas Estes on Wednesday, the charges against Wyatt were also amended.

Based on witness accounts from Feb. 18, one of the suspects is alleged to have beaten a person with the gun inside the dormitory. After which, the victim was transferred to Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton to be treated for a head laceration.

Shelby Ashline can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Shelby_Ashline.

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