KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
BENNINGTON -- A man who pleaded not guilty last week to felony domestic assault will continue to be held without bail.
Rex A. Lane, 37, of Arlington, pleaded not guilty Dec. 19 to second degree aggravated domestic assault, and a misdemeanor of interference with access to emergency services. He was charged as a habitual offender owing to previous felony convictions which allows the state to argue for a higher sentence should he be convicted of a new felony.
According to police, a woman accused Lane of hitting her in the face, grabbing her about the face and neck, and pulled her away from her cell phone when she tried to call police. Judge Cortland Corsones ordered Lane held without bail pending a weight of the evidence hearing.
That hearing was held Wednesday, during with the complaining witness testified she felt coerced by police into giving a statement implicating Lane in assaulting her. The woman said she went to the State Police barracks in Shaftsbury and spoke to Lt. Reginald Trayah, the barracks commander about custody issues she had with Lane involving a child. According to her, Trayah made it sound as though she would not be able to get custody of the child if she did not sign a statement implicating Lane.
Trayah testified that the woman came to the barracks wishing to talk about custody of a child and he told her there was nothing police could do about it. He said he noticed a black mark on her eye and suspected she had been assaulted, then told her that was something a trooper could speak to her about. He said what he explained to her was she had two options, one being leaving things as they are and perhaps being injured further or by getting her life back on track and speaking to troopers. He said the woman took some time to think the matter over and decided to talk to police. Trayah said he did not tell the woman that custody of the child depended on her making a statement to police.
Lane’s attorney, Frederick Bragdon, said police assumed what the situation was and made the woman think she had to make a statement against Lane otherwise face custody issues. He argued that Lane could live with a relative in Cambridge, N.Y., while free on conditions of release.
Deputy State’s Attorney Jennifer Barrett said the complaining witness had testified contrary to detailed statements she had made to police and was clearly unable to protect herself.
Barrett argued that Lane continue to be held and cited the habitual offender enhancement, which if Lane is convicted of a new felony would allow the state to argue for up to life in prison. Corsones opted to continue to hold Lane, but gave the state seven days to obtain certified copies of the criminal records check from the jurisdictions where Lane has had pervious convictions.
Lane currently has a pending accessory to domestic violence charge stemming from a November incident where he was accused of encouraging a woman to fight a juvenile.