Category Archives: Court

Danby man charged with stealing from fire vehicles

The U.S. Forest Service has arrested Kyle M. Hoffman, 27, of Danby, and charged him with the federal felony of theft within the “Special Maritime and Territorial Jurisdiction of the United States,” the Forest Service said in a release Thursday.

The warrant for his arrest stemmed from several thefts reported in September of 2013, where federal wildland fire vehicles, Student Conservation Association vehicles and other vehicles were broken into at a Forest Service work center in Mount Tabor.

The case will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney in Burlington.

Man charged for alledgedly punching car

WEST RUTLAND — A Rutland man faces a charge of unlawful mischief for allegedly using his fist to punch out a car headlight during a family fight, according to Vermont State Police.
Police say they were called to 23 Proctor St. at 10 p.m. on Halloween night for a family disturbance. At the address police say they learned that Gregory M. Eastman Jr., 29, had punched and broken a car headlight.
On Nov. 6, police issued Eastman a criminal citation to appear in Rutland criminal court next month.

Bennington man faces felony DUI

BENNINGTON — A local man is being held without bail and faces a felony charge of driving under the influence of alcohol after police said he crashed his car into a tree on Tuesday.
John A. Richi, 61, of Bennington, was arraigned in Bennington criminal court on Wednesday on a felony charge of driving under the influence of alcohol and a felony charge of refusing to provide a breath sample. Richi was also charged with a misdemeanor count of driving after his license had been suspended for a drunken driving conviction.
The charge of driving while under the influence of alcohol was a felony because Richi has already been convicted three times of the same charge, in July of this year and in November 1990 and September 2011. The charge of refusing to submit to a sobriety test was also a felony based on the previous convictions.
Police said the crash of a car into a tree was reported on Tuesday around 3:45 p.m. When Officer Robert Murawski of the Bennington Police Department arrived at the scene, he said in an affidavit, he noted signs that Richi might be impaired.
According to Murawski, Richi, who admitted to drinking prior to the crash, declined to give a breath sample and perform certain roadside sobriety tests.
Richi is being held in the Rutland jail because his probation, from the drinking and driving charge from earlier this year, was revoked based on the new charges.

Sex offender Szad finds a home in Hyde Park

BURLINGTON — A Vermont sex offender who has struggled to find a home since his release from prison has found a place to live in Hyde Park.
The Vermont Sex Offender Registry says 53-year-old Timothy Szad has moved to an undisclosed location in Hyde Park.
Lamoille County Sheriff Roger Marcoux tells the Burlington Free Press ( ) he plans to meet with Szad on Wednesday, along with a clergyman working with Szad and the unidentified Hyde Park homeowner.
Marcoux says the house where Szad is staying is not in the village near the elementary school.
Szad is considered a high-risk sex offender.
He was released from prison last month after completing his sentence. After his release he traveled to California, but returned to Vermont when the living arrangements in California fell through.

Danville school officials cited in court

DANVILLE — The principal and superintendent of a Vermont school have been cited into court on charges of failing to report child abuse and neglect of duty by a public officer.
Vermont State Police say the Department of Children and Families received a report in May about a Danville High School student reported to have been inappropriately touched two times by a Danville School teacher.
Police say the incident was reported by principal Noah Noyes, who told superintendent Martha Tucker.
But police say neither reported it to the DCF within 24 hours as required by law.
Tucker said her lawyer would release a statement later Tuesday. Noah did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
Police say the allegations of inappropriate contact between the teacher and student are being investigated

No charges pending in poor treatment of autistic boy, caught on tape

BENNINGTON — School employees in Bennington, will not be charged with any crime after police investigated comments captured on an audio recorder secretly placed in the backpack of an autistic boy.
Two employees were assigned to work with the 8-year-old boy earlier this year when the boy’s aunt attached the recorder to his backpack.
According to the Bennington Banner (, the recording picked up comments insulting the boy and revealed he was secluded for long periods of time.
The aunt had said the recorder was used as a last resort to understand why the boy was acting out at Bennington Elementary School.
The recording resulted in multiple Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union staff members being placed on administrative leave, one termination, and the unplanned retirement of the supervisory union’s special education director.

Arrest warrant issued for James Robarge in connection with murder of Kelly Robarge

New Hampshire officials have issued an arrest warrant for James Robarge, the husband of Kelly Robarge, 42, of Charlestown, N.H. - and who worked in Springfield, Vt. - in connection with the murder of his wife. Her body was found Saturday after an extensive search effort lasting more than a week, and an autopsy determined her death was caused by violence of undetermined means.

The warrant for James Robarge is on one count of Reckless Second Degree Murder. The charge alleges that Robarge recklessly caused the death of his wife on June 27, 2013, in Charlestown, New Hampshire, by inflicting trauma to her body, under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to the value of human life, according to a press release issued by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office.

James Robarge is currently being held at the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield on unrelated motor vehicle charges. Vermont State Police have charged Robarge with being a fugitive from justice and he will be arraigned on that charge in Windham District Court in Brattleboro, Vermont at 12:30 or 1:00 p.m. today. This will initiate the extradition process to return Robarge to New Hampshire to face the murder charge.

Kelly Robarge disappeared under suspicious circumstances on June 27, 2013. An extensive search for her body began that day and ended on July 6, when members of the Fish and Game Department found her in the woods off of Britton Road in Unity, New Hampshire. Deputy Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Duval confirmed the identity of the body at autopsy today. Dr. Duval also determined that the cause of Kelly Robarge’s death was homicidal violence by undetermined means. The manner of her death was determined to be homicide.

The investigation is continuing.

Vermont woman wins $43 million settlement from accident

BURLINGTON (AP) — A 51-year-old Vermont woman has been awarded a $43.1 million jury verdict against the manufacturer of a car seat that allegedly collapsed during a 2007 car accident, leaving her a paraplegic.
The award is believed to be the largest civil verdict in state court in Vermont history.
Dzemila Heco of Essex Junction was injured on Aug. 4, 2007, when the car she was driving was rear-ended.
Heco’s lawyers argued the car seat back collapsed, causing severe spinal-cord injuries. Heco was wearing a seat belt.
The jury returned the judgment Friday against Johnson Controls, Inc., of Milwaukee after a two-week trial.
The Burlington Free Press reports Johnson Controls ( disagreed with the verdict. The company says the seat exceeded all government and industry standards. The company is considering an appeal.

Grand jury convened to investigate police shooting

BURLINGTON (AP) — A grand jury is being convened in Vermont state court to determine whether criminal charges should be filed against a police officer who shot a mentally ill man while arresting him following an assault in April.
Winooski Police Chief Steve McQueen tells the Burlington Free Press ( he learned about the grand jury from his employee, Cpl. Jason Nokes, who received a concussion and a broken nose when he was struck by Isaac Sage during the arrest.
Sage was shot in the leg April 25 aftershocks from a stun gun failed to subdue him. He spent three days in jail before being hospitalized.
A psychiatrist says Sage suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and that he was insane during the alleged assaults.
Prosecutors dismissed the charges.

Magic Hat sues Kentucky brewery over copyright infringement

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Magic Hat Brewing is suing a Kentucky brewery over its corporate logo, which it says is a trademark infringement.
West Sixth Brewing’s logo has a numeral 6 and a star-like symbol. Magic Hat says it’s too much like its No. 9 beer label, which has a 9 and a star-like symbol.
Ben Self, co-founder of West Sixth Brewing, says he will stop the brewery’s online logo petition calling for a stop to “corporate bullying” if Magic Hat drops its lawsuit.
The Burlington Free Press reports ( ) that Magic Hat wants West Sixth’s to stop using the logo and is seeking “all profits realized by West Sixth as a result of its use of the 6 Marks.”
In a statement, Magic Hat said it had tried to resolve the issue privately and amicably, but that West Sixth had suddenly turned the issue into something it is not, leaving them no recourse other than to sue.