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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Two Suspects in Highgate Murder Caught in South Burlington

Posted By on Tue, May 8, 2018 at 9:46 AM

Erika Guttilla, left, and Corey Cassani - VERMONT STATE POLICE
  • Vermont State Police
  • Erika Guttilla, left, and Corey Cassani
Two fugitives wanted in connection with the murder of a Highgate man were caught Tuesday morning in South Burlington, Vermont State Police said.

Authorities arrested Erika Guttilla and Corey Cassani without incident around 1:30 a.m. after a traffic stop on Route 7, near the Shelburne town line.

Guttilla, who police said fatally shot her then-boyfriend, Troy Ford, was held without bail. Cassani, who allegedly played a role in the crime, was held on $25,000 bail.

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Monday, May 7, 2018

Two Highgate Suspects On the Run After Body Found in Woods

Posted By on Mon, May 7, 2018 at 1:42 PM

Erika Guttilla, left, and Corey Cassani - VERMONT STATE POLICE
  • Vermont State Police
  • Erika Guttilla, left, and Corey Cassani
Update, 3:43 p.m.: Police located the suspects' vehicle in Swanton.

Two Highgate residents are wanted by police after dog walkers discovered a murdered man's body in the woods on Saturday.

Vermont State Police believe that Erika Guttilla, 31, shot and killed her then-boyfriend, Troy Ford, several months ago. Guttilla and another Highgate resident police believe was involved, Corey Cassani, 28, are now on the lam and considered armed and dangerous.

According to Guttilla's Facebook page, she and Cassani started dating in January.

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Friday, May 4, 2018

Vermont Supreme Court Overturns KKK Flyers Conviction

Posted By on Fri, May 4, 2018 at 12:28 PM

William D. Schenk - BURLINGTON POLICE
  • Burlington Police
  • William D. Schenk
A divided Vermont Supreme Court on Friday overturned the disorderly conduct conviction of a Ku Klux Klan member who left recruitment flyers at the homes of two minority women in Burlington in 2015.

In a 3-2 opinion, justices ruled that William Schenk's action did not convey an "imminent threat of harm" as required by the law to support the charge.

Schenk, 21 at the time, told investigators that he was on a KKK recruiting mission and distributed around 50 flyers that read "Join the Klan and save our land." But authorities said he left flyers for just two people: One of the women is African American, and the other identified herself as Mexican, according to court documents.

"The flyer is a recruitment solicitation — its overt message is to join the Ku Klux Klan," former associate justice John Dooley wrote. "It contains no explicit statement of threat. To the extent that it conveys a message of personal threat to the recipient, it is that the Klan will recruit members and inflict harm in the future."

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Convicted Drug Dealer Charged in Brothers' Fatal Overdoses

Posted By on Wed, May 2, 2018 at 2:27 PM

Left to right: Dennis, Jerry, Penny and  Sean Thibault.  The young men were Penny and Jerry's children. - COURTESY OF PENNY THIBAULT
  • Courtesy Of Penny Thibault
  • Left to right: Dennis, Jerry, Penny and Sean Thibault. The young men were Penny and Jerry's children.
A convicted drug dealer has been charged with providing the fentanyl that killed two brothers in Burlington in 2015, police said.

Robert Robidoux, 34, of Richmond, is charged with selling a drug, death resulting, in the deaths of Sean and Dennis Thibault. The offense carries a 20-year maximum sentence. He's also charged with selling heroin.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Barton Man Busted After Blasting Smoke Detector With a Shotgun

Posted By on Tue, May 1, 2018 at 3:29 PM

Leroy Mason - COURTESY OF VERMONT STATE POLICE
  • Courtesy of Vermont State Police
  • Leroy Mason
We've all been there. You're cooking an omelette or burger on the stove, get distracted and, within seconds, your smoke detector is blaring and your blood pressure is skyrocketing.

But we haven't all unloaded in the way that Leroy Mason allegedly did on Monday.

Fed up with "frequent false alarms," the Barton man made like Doc Holliday in the O.K. Corral, twice blasting his smoke detector with a 20-gauge shotgun, Vermont State Police said.

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Prosecutor Drops Most Serious Charges Against Accused Fair Haven School Plotter

Posted By on Mon, Apr 23, 2018 at 12:22 PM

Jack Sawyer with defense attorney Kelly Green in court - FILE POOL PHOTO: GLENN RUSSELL / BURLINGTON FREE PRESS
  • File Pool Photo: Glenn Russell / Burlington Free Press
  • Jack Sawyer with defense attorney Kelly Green in court
Rutland County State's Attorney Rosemary Kennedy has dismissed the most serious charges against the former student who allegedly plotted a massacre at Fair Haven Union High School.

The decision, which comes after weeks of legal challenges, could pave the way for 18-year-old Jack Sawyer to soon be released from jail.

The move has seemed inevitable since April 11, when the Vermont Supreme Court overturned Judge Thomas Zonay's decision to hold Sawyer without bail on the charges — three counts of attempted murder and one count of attempted aggravated assault. He still faces two misdemeanor charges of criminal threatening and carrying a dangerous weapon.

In their ruling, justices said Sawyer's actions were "preparatory" and not "undertaken in the attempt to commit a crime."

In a Friday filing with the court dismissing the charges, Kennedy said the Supreme Court decision rendered the charges "untenable" and left her with "no choice."

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Former Champlain College Student Pleads Guilty in 2015 Drug Killing

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2018 at 5:53 PM

Kevin DeOliveira - FACEBOOK
  • Facebook
  • Kevin DeOliveira
A former Champlain College student pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges that he killed a Burlington man in 2015 over a cocaine debt, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Richard Monroe, 25, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Rutland to a firearms charge for fatally shooting Kevin DeOliveira, 23, and to conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Monroe's plea agreement calls for a 25-year prison sentence, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Federal authorities said that in late 2014, Monroe and DeOliveira argued about several ounces of cocaine that had been damaged. DeOliveira, a New Jersey native, claimed that Monroe owed him several thousand dollars. Monroe disagreed.

On the morning of January 2, 2015, Monroe approached DeOliveira's Greene Street apartment. When DeOliveira opened the door, Monroe shot him once though the eye with a .22 pistol, authorities said.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Bail Set for Would-Be Fair Haven School Shooter Jack Sawyer

Posted By on Tue, Apr 17, 2018 at 6:30 PM

Jack Sawyer with defense attorney Kelly Green in court - POOL PHOTO: GLENN RUSSELL / BURLINGTON FREE PRESS
  • Pool Photo: Glenn Russell / Burlington Free Press
  • Jack Sawyer with defense attorney Kelly Green in court
A Rutland Superior Court judge set bail Tuesday at $100,000 for the teenager who allegedly planned a massacre at Fair Haven Union High School.

Jack Sawyer, 18, who previously had been held without bail, could soon be heading to an inpatient mental health program. Sawyer's attorney, Kelly Green, said arrangements have been made for him to be admitted to the Brattleboro Retreat as soon as Wednesday.

It was not immediately clear if Sawyer would be released from jail. In an interview, Green said the Sawyer family would not post bail Tuesday but was "pursuing it."

Judge Thomas Zonay ordered that if Sawyer does post bail, he must be on 24/7 curfew at his father's home in Poultney. The judge also said he is open to having Sawyer go to the Brattleboro Retreat.

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Police Cleared in Fatal Shooting at Montpelier High School

Posted By on Tue, Apr 17, 2018 at 1:55 PM

Attorney General T.J. Donovan - MARK DAVIS
  • Mark Davis
  • Attorney General T.J. Donovan
No charges will be filed against nine police officers who fatally shot an armed bank robbery suspect on the Montpelier High School athletic field in January, authorities announced Tuesday.

An hour and a half after Nate Giffin, 32, robbed a nearby bank, police shot him, firing 21 to 23 rounds. Authorities said Giffin repeatedly raised his gun, even after being wounded. It turned out to be a BB pistol.

Giffin, a Burlington resident, repeatedly threatened police and made suicidal statements, Attorney General T.J. Donovan said. Giffin pointed his weapon at officers who had scrambled to the school, which was in session. Students were put on lockdown.

"I'm not going back to jail, so something is going to happen," Giffin told officers during the hour-long standoff. He made other statements, such as "Are you guys ready? We're going to rock and roll," and "Tell my dad I'm sorry," according to authorities.

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Friday, April 13, 2018

Ahead of Would-Be Shooter's Release, Scott Urges Passage of 'Domestic Terrorism' Law

Posted By on Fri, Apr 13, 2018 at 3:14 PM

Jack Sawyer with defense attorney Kelly Green in court - POOL PHOTO: GLENN RUSSELL / BURLINGTON FREE PRESS
  • Pool Photo: Glenn Russell / Burlington Free Press
  • Jack Sawyer with defense attorney Kelly Green in court
Updated at 8:35 p.m.

Gov. Phil Scott on Friday announced a series of steps to protect the Fair Haven Union High School community from a teenager who allegedly threatened a school massacre — but may soon be freed from prison.

The news came amid a flurry of developments in the case involving 18-year-old Jack Sawyer.

Earlier in the day, Sawyer’s attorney confirmed that her client had been served with an order, sought by Rutland County State’s Attorney Rosemary Kennedy, requiring him to not possess or buy any weapons after his release.

The "extreme risk protection order" was granted Thursday, one day after the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that there's not enough evidence to justify holding Jack Sawyer without bail. The ruling also indicates that the charges against him could be dismissed.

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