Category Archives: Court

Proctor woman claims property damage; wins $65K in court

PROCTOR - A jury has awarded a local woman nearly $65,000 after it found the town’s negligence resulted in water damage to her property.

It took jurors in Rutland civil court until 8 p.m. Wednesday to return a verdict in the trial of Kathleen Langlois versus the town of Proctor. In 2009, according to court records, Langlois requested the town turn off the water to her vacant building located at 37 Gorham Bridge Rd.

According to court records, town officials told Langlois the water had been turned off when it had not. Langlois turned off the heat and the building sustained $97,000 in water damage, according to Langlois. Continue reading

Drug charges admitted in plea deal

By Eric Francis

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — A Springfield man was sentenced to serve three to seven years for drug possession as part of a plea agreement in which the state dropped a charge of assault and robbery.

William “Tree” Manson, 24, pleaded guilty in White River Junction criminal court Tuesday to felony counts of possessing heroin and cocaine. He also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of unlawful mischief, driving with a suspended license and violating conditions of release.

Manson accumulated the charges in a series of incidents in Weathersfield, Windsor and Springfield dating back to the fall of 2011.

He had been arrested most recently in connection with the alleged beating of a man Jan. 29 in a public parking lot on Factory Street in Springfield.

A 21-year-old Windsor resident told police that he and a female friend had driven to Springfield with Manson that afternoon, and that Manson attacked him and stole his backpack containing a combat-style knife.

Prosecutors said the backpack also contained just-purchased drugs, which they said were Manson’s real target. But the assault and robbery charge was dropped, prosecutors said, in part because of concerns as to whether some of the witnesses would testify truthfully about their own activities.

As part of Tuesday’s sentencing, Judge Robert Gerety recommended that Manson, who moved to Vermont in 2008 and has a 1-year-old son in the Springfield area, be allowed to serve his time at the state Department of Corrections’ work camp, which gives inmates a chance to earn an earlier release date.

Fair Haven man charged with child sex offenses

By Brent Curtis
Staff Writer

A Fair Haven man already facing criminal sex offense charges will now answer to two more charges involving sexual acts involving an 11-year-old girl, according to Vermont State Police.

Brandon Ellis, 18, was arrested on Monday and issued a citation to appear in Rutland criminal court on May 6 to answer to felony charges of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child and luring a child.

Investigators with the Special Investigation Unit in Rutland, which handles sex crimes, said that the alleged offenses took place two years ago when the girl, now 13, told police that Ellis exposed himself and tried to entice her to engage in a sexual act.

Ellis is on court ordered conditions of release for pending sex offenses that police say occurred at the same time as the new charges. Police did not say what the pending charges are.

If convicted of the two new charges, Ellis could face up to 20 years in jail.

Conn. firefighter in child sex case found dead in Vermont

By Susan Miser | The New Haven Register
WEST HAVEN — A volunteer firefighter placed on leave from his city dispatcher job was found dead Tuesday in Vermont, where he was arrested on sex-related charges last week, a Vermont State Police captain confirmed Tuesday night.

Frank Meyer, 39, committed suicide, said Capt. David Covell, commander of the criminal investigation unit. Meyer was arrested in Vermont Feb. 27, posted bail in court the next day when he was arraigned, and came back to West Haven soon after. It’s unclear when he went back to Vermont.

Meyer and Brett Bartolotta, 42, a former West Haven volunteer firefighter who now lives in Vermont, were arrested last week by Vermont state police on charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child and slave traffic.

Both pleaded not guilty in court.

An arrest warrant affidavit for the men say they engaged in a lengthy sexual relationship with a minor in Vermont until February. The alleged victim is now 25.

Rutland Herald reporter Brent Curtis contributed to this report.

Police: Man broke $2,400 sign

BENNINGTON — A Farley Drive man was charged with a felony Monday after police said they believed he broke a wooden sign on Elm Street on Feb. 1 that cost nearly $2,400 to replace.
Matthew Bortell, 27, of Bennington, pleaded innocent in Bennington criminal court to a felony count of unlawful mischief resulting in more than $1,000 in damage.
In an affidavit, Officer Thalia Hudson, of the Bennington Police Department, said she was dispatched about 2:45 a.m. Feb. 1 to Elm Street. At the scene, Hudson spoke to a woman who said she had heard the sign for “Edwards Investments” being broken and saw two men leaving the area.
Hudson said Bortell was spotted on Main Street a short time later. While Bortell admitted to being on Elm Street earlier in the morning with another man, Hudson said he wouldn’t give police a last name or address for the other man and denied breaking the sign.
Staff at Edwards Investment gave police an estimate of $2,390.46 to replace the sign.
Bortell has a previous conviction for unlawful mischief resulting in more than $1,000 damage from November 2009.

St. Michael’s student arrested in connection with bridge jump

COLCHESTER — Police say a Vermont college student has been arrested on a drug charge in an investigation that started after another student jumped off a bridge last week.
Colin Basler of Old Lyme, Conn., was arrested Thursday on a charge of LSD possession and distribution.
The Burlington Free Press reports ( Basler, a 19-year-old sophomore at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, has withdrawn from school and left campus.
The arrest resulted from an investigation that began after another St. Michael’s student, 19-year-old Ethan Levine of Marblehead, Mass., jumped off the Lime Kiln bridge and fell 40 feet onto railroad tracks last Friday. He’s hospitalized in fair condition.
Police said he jumped after destroying merchandise at a convenience store and was being chased by college security.  Levine hasn’t been arrested.

Two men charged with child porn possession

MONTPELIER— The Vermont Attorney General’s office says two Burlington men are facing felony child pornography charges after illegal images were found on their computers.
Investigators say Kevin Gallagher pleaded not guilty to four charges on Feb. 5. On Tuesday, David Faulkner, also pleaded guilty to four charges.
Police allege an investigation determined Gallagher and Faulkner obtained child pornography over the Internet using peer-to-peer file sharing programs, which connect to software that permitted them to trade pictures and movies, including those containing child pornography, with other computers around the world.
Both men were released on conditions including restrictions on contact with children and their ability to access the Internet.

Pastor in same-sex marriage dispute due in court

MONTPELIER — The Virginia pastor jailed for refusing to testify before a grand jury about other people involved in helping move a former Vermont woman out of the country to avoid sharing custody of her daughter with her former lesbian partner is due in a court in Vermont.
Kenneth Miller, of Stuarts Draft, Va., was jailed a week ago after refusing a judge’s order that he testify before a grand jury.
U.S. District Court Judge William Sessions called Thursday’s hearing to see if Miller has changed his mind and will testify.
Miller was convicted last summer of charges he helped Lisa Miller and her daughter flee the country in 2009 rather than share custody with Janet Jenkins of Fair Haven. The Millers are not related.

Lawmakers to consider immunity in drug OD 9-1-1 calls

MONTPELIER — Vermont lawmakers are considering a bill — backed by law enforcement — to make people immune from prosecution on drug charges when they call 911 to report a friend is overdosing and in danger of death.
Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan, Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn and Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen say their hope is not to condone drug use, but to reduce the number of drug overdose deaths, of which there were 73 in Vermont in 2012.
Donovan cited the case of Phat Nguyen (Fat’ Win), a Minnesota man who was sharing drugs with friends while visiting Vermont in 2007 and ended up convicted of dispensing drugs with death resulting when one of them died. Donovan says people should be encouraged to call 911 in such cases.

Woman bites child, police say

BENNINGTON — A Pleasant Street woman was ordered held without bail on Monday after police accused her of biting her 2-year-old child hard enough to leave marks.
Christina F. Crandall, 20, of Bennington, was arraigned in Bennington criminal court on Monday on a felony charge of domestic assault and a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to a child younger than 10. The domestic assault was charged as a felony based on Crandall’s previous conviction for violating an abuse prevention order.
In an affidavit, Officer Jason Burnham, of the Bennington Police Department, said he was dispatched to Crandall’s home at 10:20 p.m. on Sunday.
Burnham said a relative reported the bite to police. Burnham said Crandall was uncooperative, denied biting the child and attempted to keep him from seeing the bite mark. Continue reading