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Friday, May 11, 2018

Cannabis Expungements Planned in Chittenden, Windsor Counties

Posted By on Fri, May 11, 2018 at 4:28 PM

  • File: Sasha Goldstein
  • Sarah George
Here’s your chance to make that conviction go up in smoke.

Chittenden and Windsor counties will both hold expungement clinics next month to help wipe clean the records of people who have been convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession.

The events — June 9 in South Royalton and June 12 in Burlington — come weeks before possessing and growing small amounts of marijuana becomes legal in Vermont. Volunteers with the Center for Justice Reform at the Vermont Law School will help attendees fill out an expungement petition, which both Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George and Windsor County State’s Attorney David Cahill have vowed to support.

“This does not apply to felony-level offenses, convictions for sale of marijuana, or any offenses that took place outside of Windsor or Chittenden County,” Vermont Law School spokesperson Ben Jervey said in a press release.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Muslim Teen Poets Invited to Elks Club — Which Called the Cops

Posted By and on Tue, May 8, 2018 at 1:25 PM

From left to right: Hawa Adam, Kiran Waqar, Balkisa Omar, Lena Ginawi - COURTESY OF KIRAN WAQAR
  • Courtesy of Kiran Waqar
  • From left to right: Hawa Adam, Kiran Waqar, Balkisa Omar, Lena Ginawi
Slam poets Muslim Girls Making Change were invited to dine and perform last week at the Burlington Elks Lodge — where a club officer called the police on them. The teenagers have slammed the incident as racial profiling.

"This kind of stuff happens all the time and we're sick of it," member Kiran Waqar told Seven Days on Monday.

"Being a woman of color, I'm going to be getting all these experiences," said another one of the poets, Balkisa Omar.

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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

  • 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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Driver Saliva Testing Bill Dies in Vermont Senate Committee

Posted By on Wed, May 2, 2018 at 11:57 AM

The vote means saliva testing likely won't become law this year. - LUKE EASTMAN
  • Luke Eastman
  • The vote means saliva testing likely won't become law this year.
A Senate committee voted down a bill Wednesday morning that would’ve allowed Vermont police to gather saliva samples from drivers suspected of driving while on drugs. The legislation would’ve allowed roadside collection of saliva samples, similar to the current use of breath tests for alcohol impairment.

The proposal was designed to help law enforcement check for stoned drivers once recreational marijuana becomes legal for adults in July.

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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

  • 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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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Health Department Program Gives Fentanyl Testing Kits to Heroin Users

Posted By on Wed, Apr 25, 2018 at 5:01 PM

  • Courtesy of the Vermont Department of Health
  • A testing kit
The Vermont Department of Health has quietly distributed fentanyl testing kits to heroin users during the past 15 months as part of a pilot program officials hope to expand statewide.

The kits, which allow users to determine if heroin is laced with the potent, often undetectable opiate, have been handed out to 130 people across the state, Health Department officials told Seven Days.

Health Commissioner Mark Levine said that the project has been a success: 90 percent of users said in follow-up interviews that they changed their behavior — by discarding the batch of heroin, using less, making sure they had an overdose-reversing drug on hand, or using in the presence of someone else — if the kit detected fentanyl.

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Many Police Agencies in Vermont Stop Using License Plate Readers

Posted By on Mon, Apr 23, 2018 at 5:54 PM

In-car computers scan plates from photos of vehicles. - FILE: MATTHEW THORSEN
  • File: Matthew Thorsen
  • In-car computers scan plates from photos of vehicles.
The Vermont State Police and 17 other law enforcement agencies in the Green Mountain State have stopped using automated license plate readers, resulting in a steep decline in the amount of data collected about vehicles on Vermont’s roads.

State Police Capt. Kevin Lane told the House Judiciary Committee Friday that the agency stopped using the technology because of state rules put into place in 2016 and the potential cost of replacing the devices as they reach the end of their useful lifespan.

“Looking at replacements was expensive, and some of the reporting requirements when the law changed were very challenging to meet,” Lane said.

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