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Mass. man charged in brutal beating

Pa. woman, 87, hit with candlestick

SAXONBURG, Pa. -- Police charged a Massachusetts man with trying to kill an 87-year-old woman with a candlestick and said he is a suspect in assaults and other crimes at an apartment complex for the elderly.

State police on Friday were traveling from New Bedford with Joshua J. Goyette, 25. He sometimes lived there with his father, and also stayed with his mother in Saxonburg, about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh, police said. The mother's home is less than a mile from a senior-citizen apartment complex where police were investigating a rash of crimes.

Goyette is charged in Pennsylvania with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, and burglary in an attack last Saturday. Gertrude Johnson told police she was awakened at 4:50 a.m. by someone beating her with a glass candlestick. The attack was so brutal that some of Johnson's fingers were nearly severed as she tried to ward off the blows, police said.

It was not immediately clear whether Goyette had an attorney.

Goyette served four months in jail for a 2001 burglary conviction in Kansas, and six months in jail after pleading guilty in January 2004 in New Bedford to breaking into a woman's apartment and fondling her while she slept. Goyette was still serving two years' probation for that crime when he moved in with his mother in early May, police said.

Police said Goyette is suspected of groping a sleeping 90-year-old woman May 21, also in the 26-unit Pennsylvania apartment complex. In November 2001, resident Eileen Devlin, now 74, told police she woke up to find someone's hands on her; she chased off the intruder with a walking stick she keeps nearby. Goyette is a suspect in that case, too, police said.

Those attacks and other reports of prowlers in recent months all occurred when Goyette was known to be staying with his mother, police said.

Earlier this week they searched her house and seized a computer Goyette allegedly used before they both left for Massachusetts yesterday. Goyette's mother told police her son returned home earlier that day ''covered with blood" but appeared to be uninjured, according to an affidavit. The warrant noted other similarities in the crimes Goyette has been charged with or convicted of in the past.

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