Arlington homicide depositions to begin in March
Timothy J. Butler, 32, has been held since being arraigned last March on charges in connection with the death of 81-year-old Helen Jones. A trial in August is estimated to run for eight days.
Forensic evidence in the case has been under review. A brief status conference was held Friday in Bennington criminal court.
"We did receive the DNA report that we were waiting for," Bennington County State's Attorney Erica Marthage told Judge David A. Howard. "We are moving forward with whatever depositions that need to be scheduled."
Defense attorney Brian Marsicovetere with the Serious Felony Unit of the Office of the Defender General said that, after talking this week with Deputy State's Attorney Robert Plunkett, he expects depositions would be held from late March through early May.
Marthage, Marsicovetere and Howard agreed another status conference on the case would be set for sometime in March.
Jones' body was found Jan. 4, 2017 in her Buck Hill Road home in Arlington, where she lived alone. Her stabbing death touched off an intense investigation, with detectives from the Major Crime Unit of Vermont State Police and other personnel from around the state participating.
According to a court affidavit, Butler told police he used to mow Jones' lawn, but had not for several years. He also said he was at Jones' home a couple weeks before when he and a relative stopped to ask if she needed work done.
Investigators were granted a wire warrant and recorded conversations between Butler and a woman who knew him. Butler was arrested on March 8, 2016.
Judge Howard approved a trial schedule in October. The order set March 1 for disclosure of defense information and a list of defense witnesses, and June 10 to complete depositions.
Marsicovetere participated in Friday's conference by telephone. Butler has not appeared in court since his arraignment.
Butler pleaded not guilty to a felony count of first degree murder and a felony count of burglary into an occupied dwelling armed with a dangerous or deadly weapon. The charges could bring a prison term of 35 years to life.
Ed Damon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @edamon_banner on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 111.
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