KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
BENNINGTON -- A fight involving a 13-inch butcher knife has resulted in two men facing felony assault charges.
One man is being held without bail in the Rutland jail while the other is under a curfew at a Grove Street residence.
Christopher Prevost, 35, of Bennington is accused of cutting Donald L. Loveland II, 27, also of Bennington, with a butcher knife after Loveland allegedly forced his way into a mobile home Prevost was staying at and fought him, according to Bennington Police. Prevost pleaded not guilty Monday in Bennington Superior Court Criminal Division to one count of aggravated assault with a weapon. A bail review hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday.
Loveland pleaded not guilty to aggravated assault, burglary, and unlawful trespass of an occupied dwelling -- all felonies -- and was released on conditions he abide by a 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. curfew at a Grove Street home. Neither man is allowed to contact the other and their contact with certain witnesses is also restricted.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Officer John. F. Behan, on Saturday at 7:55 a.m. he responded to Sweets Mobile Home Park for a reported fight. There he met Loveland who was sitting in a car, bleeding, with Wayne J. Hemmingway, 29, holding a towel to Loveland's injured hand. Loveland told police he was stabbed and that the person who stabbed him was in the mobile home.
Behan and another officer went to the home with their weapons drawn and were met at the door by Amanda L. Hover, 24, and Andrea C. Stepp, also 24. Behan asked Hover if the other male was inside but was interrupted by Stepp, who said he was not. Hover told Behan he was in fact there, and police encountered Prevost sitting on a couch. He was shirtless and had abrasions on his back as well as blood. Prevost was cooperative and was placed in handcuffs. He told police he stabbed Loveland in self-defense after Loveland entered the home without permission and attacked him. The knife, a 13-inch butcher knife with a black handle, had been stuck in the wall.
Hemmingway told police that he and others were at Ryan's Cafe, a bar in Bennington, and went to Hover's home at Sweets Mobile Home Park after the bar closed. He said they all went to sleep and he awoke to a loud noise. He found Loveland and Prevost fighting and said it was because Loveland was angry over Prevost sleeping in the same room as Stepp. He said Loveland left, then came back, this time forcing his way through a locked door. Prevost grabbed a knife and was swinging it as he backed up. Both men were threatening to kill each other while Stepp tried to stop Loveland. Hemmingway said he assisted Loveland by holding a towel on his hand after noticing he was bleeding.
Hover, who lives at the home with Stepp, told police she also awoke to loud noises and found Loveland, who was not with the group but entered her home uninvited, yelling at Stepp. Her story was similar to Hemmingway's. She said Loveland refused to leave when told and over the course of the incident he left the home and re-entered three times.
Loveland told police he had been in a relationship with Stepp for five months but they had been on a break for a few days. She said he was asked to come over by Stepp and found the door unlocked and everyone sleeping. He said Prevost pushed him when he opened the door to the bedroom and he pushed back. He left but had lost his hat, and was let in by Stepp to retrieve it. Prevost then attacked him with the butcher knife, and the two fought. Prevost was pushed through a door, breaking it, while Stepp and Hover tried to break them up. Loveland said he was stabbed in the hand toward the end of the fight.
Prevost told police he was awoken by being kicked in the head. He ran into the kitchen to get a knife, then got back to the bedroom. He said Loveland was chasing him and tried to force his way into the bedroom while shouting death threats. He said he stabbed Loveland in the hand but Loveland continued to chase and attack him.
Police said both men were treated at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center. Prevost suffered a broken rib.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.