Court roundup: Child neglect, check forgeries, drug debt


BENNINGTON — The following cases were heard recently in Vermont Superior Court Criminal Division Bennington Unit.

Man accused of forging checks

Jason Raymond Smith, 41, of Londonderry, pleaded not guilty June 21 to felony identity theft and two counts of publishing a false instrument. He was charged as a habitual offender and ordered held without bail at the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield.

According to an affidavit by Manchester Police, on May 9 it was reported to them by a male in Manchester that Smith had stolen their checkbook and written a check to himself for $2,3000. Smith did not have permission to write the check and forged the owner's signature. According to another affidavit, this one by State Police in Windham County, on May 4 a male reported that Smith stole a check from his home in Jamaica and wrote it out to himself for $4,750. Police investigated each of these incidents and cited Smith for forgery.

Woman charged with child neglect

Kimberly J. Robinson, 28, of Bennington, pleaded not guilty June 22 to a misdemeanor count of cruelty to a child under 10 years old. She was released without bail under conditions that she work with the Department of Children and Families in creating and following a safety plan.

According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Officer Stephen J. Sleaseman, on June 15 at 5:49 p.m. he was on patrol in his cruiser and came to the intersection of Main Street and Union Street where he saw a young child -Later found to be 3-years-old- out walking, nude and in the company of a dog. There was heavy traffic on the roads at the time. The child appeared to not have been bathed recently and was suffering from diaper rash. The child could not tell Sleaseman her name and the dog was acting protective and not letting Sleaseman get close.

A woman came by and said she knew where the child lived. She attempted to pick the child up but she ran off. The woman and Sleaseman followed the girl to her home, some 120 feet from where Sleaseman found her. Sleaseman knocked on the door and heard someone shout "one minute." He said he was from the Bennington Police and was again told "One minute." Robinson, the child's mother, came down after Sleaseman demanded she do so. She told him one of her other children had let the 3-year-old out and that Robinson had been inside picking up glass. She said the child had only been gone a few minutes. Sleaseman noted that it had been five minutes since he encountered the child on the street. He said Robinson downplayed the situation and continued to blame the other child. He said he wrote her a citation and then slammed her door in his and told him never to come back.

Man tells police he stole to settle drug debt

Stephan M. Palmer, 43, of Bennington, pleaded not guilty June 20 to a felony count of identify theft, a misdemeanor count of petit larceny, and two misdemeanor counts of false pretenses or false tokens. He was charged as a habitual offender and released under conditions, among them that he not go to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center except for medical purposes.

According to an affidavit by Bennington Police, on May 9 an employee at SVMC said her wallet went missing while she was at work. She cancelled her cards and learned to purchases had been made on her credit card, one for $100 at Family Dollar, the other at Rite Aid for $116.

Police investigated and obtained surveillance photos of the person they believed used the stolen card. They posted the pictures to the department's Facebook page and were told by several people the person in question was Palmer. On May 18 Palmer went to police and admitted he was the one who took the card. He said he owed someone called "Nate" money for heroin he had purchased. Nate drove him to the hospital and told him to get money from there. Palmer said he took the card and gave Nate the items he bought, settling the debt.

— Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at 802-447-7567 Ext. 115


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