Man arraigned on attempted murder

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BENNINGTON — A Wilmington man facing an attempted murder charge after being accused of beating a man with a two-by-four in September appeared in court on Monday.

Alfred A. Craven, 48, had been wanted for violating his federal supervision, according to court documents. Craven, who police said fled after the assault in Searsburg, allegedly robbed a bank in Massachusetts before being arrested at a Connecticut casino. He remains in federal custody and was taken to Bennington criminal court on Monday afternoon by U.S. Marshalls.

Deputy State's Attorney Alexander Burke said Craven will remain in federal custody. Judge David A. Howard granted the state's request that Craven be held without bail.

Defense attorney Frederick Bragdon, representing Craven, did not object to holding Craven, but did reserve the right to demand a weight of evidence hearing.

A trooper responded to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center's emergency department in Bennington at about 7 p.m. on Sept. 4 after a 53-year-old patient walked into the emergency department with "significant facial and head injuries," according to a court affidavit.

A woman who knows the victim told police that he had called her to ask if she could pick him up at the hospital. She told police that he said he was at a friend's house when another man arrived with Craven, who he recognized because he used to work with his father, and that Craven assaulted him.

The assault took place at a home on Route 8 in Searsburg, according to the affidavit. The homeowner told police that he and the victim were having a bonfire when another man arrived with Craven. He told police the victim and Craven knew each other, shook hands "and greeted each other as if they were friends." A couple minutes passed before he heard the victim get hit in the face, telling police that "when he looked over he saw Craven hit [the victim] in the face a second time" with a two-by-four board. He told police he "jumped up and stopped Craven as he was winding up for a third hit" and that he could tell the victim had been knocked unconscious with the first blow. He told police that Craven, before he left in a truck with the man he came with, shouted at him to not call police.

The victim sustained a skull fracture, facial fractures, and lacerations to the face and head, according to the affidavit. The man also had difficulty breathing and was put into a medically induced coma so a breathing tube could be inserted. He was treated for injuries at Albany Medical Center.

Craven pleaded not guilty in Vermont Superior Court to single felony counts of attempted first degree murder and aggravated assault. The attempted murder charge carries a minimum penalty of 35 years and maximum of life in prison. And the assault charge carries a habitual offender enhancement because Craven has been convicted of three or more felonies, meaning prosecutors could argue up to life in prison.

Craven's was convicted of eluding law enforcement in February 2016; bank robbery in 2010; and selling marijuana in 2006, according to court records. Craven was wanted on a federal warrant for violating his supervised release in connection with bank robberies in California. He was also wanted for failing to appear for a July 2016 court date in Windham County for misdemeanor aggravated disorderly conduct and interfering with access to emergency services.

Craven also faces charges in connection with a bank robbery in southeastern Massachusetts on Sept. 18. A man stole a 2002 Chevy Silverado 2500 pickup at a Taunton car wash and drove to a North Easton Savings Bank location in Mansfield, where the suspect passed a note to a teller demanding cash, according to Mansfield police.

Craven was arrested by U.S. Marshals at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn. on Sept. 22.

Ed Damon can be reached at edamon@benningtonbanner.com, at @edamon_banner on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 111.


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