KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
BENNINGTON -- A Shaftsbury man is being accused of strangling a child three separate times.
William Borden, 35, pleaded not guilty Friday in Bennington Superior Court Criminal Division to three counts of aggravated domestic assault. He was ordered held without bail pending a "weight of the evidence" hearing, when the court will determine whether he may released on conditions or bail.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Detective Anthony Silvestro, on June 3 he received a report from the Department of Children and Families alleging that Borden strangled an 8-year-old child two weeks ago. Although the mother of the child asked Borden to leave their home, the couple is still together.
Silvestro said he interviewed the child along with a DCF investigator and a school official at the school the child attends. He also spoke to another child who is in the same family.
The child told police the first time he was strangled was in his sister’s room in a house in Bennington. He said he yelled at his sister for something and Borden came in, placed his hand around his neck, and squeezed, causing him to feel pain and not be able to breathe.
The second time he was strangled, the child said it was in a car. Borden was in the front passenger seat and turned around and squeezed his neck, again causing him pain and affecting his ability to breath. The child said his mother yelled at Borden to stop. He said this happened May 29.
The third time happened at a person’s house in Shaftsbury. The affidavit only identifies that person as "Witness#1." He said Borden squeezed his neck from the side while they sat on a couch and stopped when his mother entered the room. The other child police spoke to corroborated the incident in the car, and said the boy told her about the couch incident, but she knew of no others.
The child’s mother told police about the incident in the car, saying Borden put the child in a headlock and was not trying to hurt him, and stopped when the child began to cry.
Silvestro wrote that Witness#1 told him that she saw the incident at the home in Shaftsbury and that Borden had grabbed the child by the back of the neck and pushed his face into a couch cushion.
Witness#1 told police that the child’s mother told her about the incident in the car and said she feared the police hearing about it because she might lose her children. Witness#1 said the mother asked her to keep the matter quiet, and both she and Borden indicated there would be repercussions if she spoke to police.
Silvestro said Borden came to the Bennington Police Department upon request and after having his Miranda rights explained to him, became angry and started yelling.
According to the affidavit, Borden has a number of felony domestic assault convictions. The state filed a habitual offender enhancement for these new charges, meaning that if he is convicted of a new felony the normal sentencing limits will not be in place.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.