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Bail ordered for man in beating

Associated Press / August 27, 2009

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WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court ordered the state of Massachusetts yesterday to grant bail to a man convicted of beating an elementary school teacher with a baseball bat.

Justice Stephen Breyer ordered a federal judge to set a “practical amount’’ of bail and other conditions of release for Michael O’Laughlin.

O’Laughlin was convicted of armed assault with intent to murder, burglary, and other charges in the November 2000 attack on Annmarie Kotowski, a teacher in Dalton, Mass. He was tried in 2002.

The First US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in June that no reasonable jury could have convicted O’Laughlin based on the evidence and ordered his immediate release. State officials asked the Supreme Court to keep him in prison while they appealed or to set bail at $100,000.

Police said Kotowski was struck with an aluminum bat as many as 15 times at her apartment in Lee, Mass. She suffered severe injuries to her face, arms, and hands.

During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that O’Laughlin had been smoking crack cocaine and intended to rob Kotowski to get money for drugs.