Man pleads not guilty after altercation

Thursday April 11, 2013


Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- A Readsboro man is facing charges after police said he pointed a gun at two people during an argument over him playing too roughly with children.

Christopher M. Crockwell, 32, of Grinka Farm Drive, pleaded not guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment. He was arraigned in Rutland Superior Court Criminal Division but his case will be heard through the Bennington court system. A bail hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday.

According to an affidavit by Vermont State Trooper Lauren Ronan, on Tuesday at 9:47 p.m. she and Trooper Dave Ferenick were dispatched to 28 Grinka Farm Drive because Crockwell had called police to say he had been in a physical conflict with Kim Thayer, 58, and Craig Thayer, 52, and that he had pulled out a pistol before demanding the two leave.

The Thayers also called police to report the incident and so troopers were sent to their home on Branch Hill Road to speak with them and another witness.

Crockwell told police he was at the home with his girlfriend Melinda Thayer, 31, Thayer's cousin Danielle Dupre-Wise, 22, along with Thayer's two children and Dupre-Wise's child. Crockwell said he was "roughhousing" with the children when Dupre-Wise became upset and said he was "taking it too far." She later told police Crockwell had removed the pants of her child and spanked her buttocks.

Some 15 minutes after this Kim Thayer and Craig Thayer came to the home and confronted him. Kim Thayer poked him in the chest then grabbed him by the throat. Craig Thayer grabbed him as well. Crockwell said he pushed them off and drew a pistol, chambered a round, and pointed it at the two Thayers, demanding they leave, which they did.

Crockwell smelled of alcohol, wrote Ronan, and he admitted to having one beer, which would place him in violation of his probation which he is under in Massachusetts. Crockwell also had red marks on his neck which he said were from being grabbed.

Melinda Thayer told police she saw Crockwell tickling Dupre-Wise's child and heard the child ask Crockwell to stop, which he did not. This angered Dupre-Wise, who contacted her father and uncle, Kim Thayer and Craig Thayer respectively.

When Craig Thayer confronted Crockwell, Kim Thayer thought Crockwell was about to strike him, so he held Crockwell back then let him go. This was when Crockwell drew the pistol and said "So this is how you want it?"

Ronan said the pistol was confiscated and Crockwell taken into custody.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.


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