Pownal man found guilty of shotgun menacing
BENNINGTON -- A Pownal teen was found guilty Wednesday of menacing another man with a shotgun earlier this year.
Christopher Shores, 19, was found guilty of simple assault by menace by a jury after a one-day trial, however he was acquitted of reckless endangerment. Both are misdemeanor charges.
According to Vermont State Police, a trooper was dispatched to what was formerly known as American’s Best Value Inn off Route 7 in Pownal. Shores was accused by Mridul Kumar, whose family owns the motel, of pointing a shotgun at him as Kumar was bringing in groceries. He ran inside and his wife contacted police. Kumar said Shores was alone, however Shores told police his sister was with him and he was showing her the gun, a 12-gauge Remington, which he had just bought.
In her closing arguments, Shores’ attorney, Kate Lamson, said there had been an ongoing dispute between Kumar and the Shores family, who resided at the motel. She said Kumar’s attempts to evict the family had failed, and the complaint came a day after Kumar had tried to place an order against trespass against a friend of the family’s, which was not legally enforceable.
Lamson said Kumar’s story matched his wife’s exactly, however her client and his sister’s stories matched only on important details and differed slightly on particulars, indicating they had not rehearsed their testimony. She said there was also no proof the gun was capable of firing.
Deputy State’s Attorney Alexander Burke, in his rebuttal argument, said the tension between the families was in fact evidence pointing towards Shores having threatened Kumar. He said all the evidence pointed to that conclusion and added that Shores had been eying the gun for a year prior to buying it and it was unlikely that he purchased a non-working gun.
-- Keith Whitcomb Jr.
Arlington man accused of kidnapping baby
BENNINGTON -- An Arlington man is accused of kidnapping his ex-girlfriend’s baby and refusing to give the child back unless she met him somewhere free of police presence.
Thomas R. Vollinger, 24, of Peaceful Meadow, was held without bail Thursday after he pleaded not guilty to felony counts of kidnapping-hostage, kidnapping-other crime or flight, kidnapping a victim under 16, three counts of kidnapping-bodily injury or fear, second degree unlawful restraint, first degree aggravated domestic assault, and misdemeanor counts of domestic assault, and interference with access to emergency services.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Officer John F. Behan, on Wednesday at 3:19 p.m. he was dispatched to North Branch Street to speak with a woman who had blood on her knuckles and bruises on her arms. The woman said her ex-boyfriend, Vollinger, had come over as she was about to leave for work. She said Vollinger prevented her from leaving her bedroom, then he shut and locked the front door, keeping her from leaving the house. She pushed him and punched him in the face, then sat down on the stairs. He then grabbed her by the wrists, which left a bruise. She called police on her cell phone, which Vollinger tried to take, then as she was speaking to a dispatcher, Vollinger took her child and left.
She said her knuckle wound was from her punching the door when Vollinger closed it. She said Vollinger does not have parental rights to the child.
As Behan was speaking to the woman, Vollinger was calling her cell phone. She said Vollinger was supposed to bring the child to a baby-sitter in Bennington. Behan said he could hear Vollinger tell the woman he was not bringing the child to the sitter, and would not say where he was. The woman told Behan that Vollinger has threatened to kill himself in the past.
Behan wrote that Vollinger told the woman he was at his father’s house in Arlington, but would not give the baby to her if police showed up.
At 4:35 p.m., Vollinger turned the baby over to state police and was arrested. He declined to speak to police.
-- Keith Whitcomb Jr.