Wednesday May 1, 2013

KEITH WHITCOMB JR.

Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- A man accused of threatening people at a party with an unloaded gun fitted with a trigger lock was found not guilty by a jury Friday after a one-day trial.

Anthony Coon, 23, of Lake Drive, pleaded not guilty on June 11, 2012 to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by threatening. He was held without bail until August when he was released on conditions, which he allegedly violated in November after being charged with domestic assault. Coon was ordered to be held again and, according to the Department of Corrections, is at the Rutland jail.

According to Vermont State Police, on June 10 they went to a home on Searles Crossing in Pownal for a report that Coon was fighting with his girlfriend. Police handled the situation and left only to be summoned back for reports that Coon had become upset and was threatening people with a .22 caliber rifle.

It was not loaded and had a trigger lock, according to police. Witnesses reported that Coon was threatening to use the gun to shoot people until a person in the house wrested it from him.

Coon was represented by attorney Lamar Enzor, who in his closing arguments pointed out that according to various testimonies the gun was not capable of firing and that Coon did not fight to get it back once it was taken from him.

"The gun could not have been intended, by these facts and circumstances, to threaten anyone because he couldn’t pull the trigger," said Enzor, who said Coon would have had to brandish the gun like a club for it to be a threat. He said Coon never did anything to establish the intent of a threat.

Deputy State’s Attorney Robert Plunkett, in his rebuttal statements, said he would agree with Enzor’s assessment had the state charged Coon with a different crime.

"He’s asking you to acquit Mr. Coon of a charge he’s not being charged with," said Plunkett. "The case here is that he tried to control the people around him after he argued with his girlfriend, and told them to leave. He tried to control them by threatening to go get a gun and shoot them, and grabbing this weapon and brandishing it."

The domestic assault charges Coon is facing are in connection with him allegedly going to a woman’s home that he knew and shoving her during an argument.

In August, Gail Stickle, 18, pleaded not guilty to a felony count of obstructing justice for allegedly contacting one of the witnesses in the assault case and asking him to encourage another witness to claim she did not remember the incident. The charge against Stickle is pending and is scheduled for a hearing today and a jury draw on May 7.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @kwhitcombjr