BENNINGTON >> A Bennington man was released from court Monday on strict conditions after being accused of pointing a gun at another man's face outside a local bar.
John Petteys, 22, pleaded not guilty Monday in Vermont Superior Court Criminal Division Bennington Unit to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was released without bail under numerous conditions, among them that he abide a 24-hour curfew at a South Branch Street residence, turn over all of his firearms to police, not consume alcohol, not go to JC's Tavern, not go to any establishment where the primary business is selling alcohol, and to not have contact with the man he is accused of threatening.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Officer Scott R. Legacy II, on Sunday at 12:22 p.m. police spoke to a man who said he had left JC's Tavern on River Street when a male came up behind him. The male, later identified at Petteys, shoved him several times, ultimately drawing a handgun and pointing it at his face. Petteys asked the male his name, then ran onto Gage Street.
The male told police that Petteys, whom he did not know, was accusing him of doing something sexual in nature to his girlfriend and that he seemed to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The police investigation revealed that Petteys had been in JC's Tavern earlier with a female, later identified as his girlfriend, and another male. Petteys had also been asked to leave JC's by staff there.
When police arrested Petteys, he became upset and indicated he knew nothing of a gun. Police asked to speak to his girlfriend and she brought down a loaded 9mm Smith & Wesson M&P handgun which she turned over to police.
She said she knew nothing of the alleged threat incident and did not know why Petteys might have been upset, other than for a time he did not know where she was. Nothing bad happened to her that evening.
Petteys had the gun at the bar, according to her.
Petteys told police that there was a confrontation between him and a male outside JC's that night. He had gone up to the male to ask about his girlfriend, then the male made a move. Petteys said he acted out of self defense.
He told police he believes he was asked to leave the bar because he was carrying a gun.
Petteys appeared in court Monday on a citation. Deputy State's Attorney Robert Plunkett asked Judge David Howard to hold Petteys without bail. Petteys' attorney, Public Defender Frederick Bragdon, argued that his client could be released safely under conditions and that he was unlikely to seek out the complaining witness because he did not know him.
Plunkett argued that the fact Petteys did not know the man was all the more reason to hold him without bail.
Howard told Petteys that his conditions would be strict and that if he violated them he ran the risk of sitting in jail while the case is pending.
— Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at 802-447-7567 Ext. 115