KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
BENNINGTON -- A jury found a South Street man not guilty of threatening a woman with a hammer and smashing items in her apartment.
Dana Pratt, 21, was acquitted Wednesday in Vermont Superior Court of felony second degree aggravated domestic assault, and misdemeanor charges of unlawful mischief, and unlawful trespass. He pleaded not guilty to those charges on July 17 and has been held without bail since.
According to police, a woman came to the Bennington Police Department and reported that Pratt came to her house and when she refused to have sex with him, he threatened her with a hammer, damaged a number of household items, and twisted her wrists.
Pratt’s attorney, Christopher Montgomery, in his closing argument suggested that his client had been set up by the woman and her boyfriend. He said the photos of the woman’s injuries show bruises on her elbow, not her wrist, and the bruises appeared old. The photos police took of the damaged items made it clear they had been moved after the incident. The photo police took of a hole in the wall, which Pratt was accused of making, did not come with a photo of plaster on the floor which would show it was made recently.
Montgomery ventured that nothing the woman said corroborated what his client was being accused of and that the evidence and testimony showed she had jealousy issues.
Deputy State’s Attorney Jennifer Barrett said in her closing argument that it was clear Pratt’s relationship with the woman had been long and tumultuous, but that was not the issue being considered. She said the physical evidence collected by police corroborates the woman’s story as well as that of witnesses. In response to Montgomery’s suggestion the incident was staged, she said the woman simply cleaned her house before going to the police station. She had not planned on having police come over, nor would she know what specific types of evidence police would be looking for.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.