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BENNINGTON — A Massachusetts man was sentenced to probation last week after admitting to threatening a woman and himself during an incident last month involving a firearm.

Richard P. Ellis, of North Adams, had been held without bail since the March 2 incident.

Ellis, 26, pleaded guilty in Bennington criminal court on Wednesday to felony aggravated stalking with a deadly weapon and misdemeanor reckless endangerment.

Judge William D. Cohen accepted a plea agreement that called for a two-to-five year suspended sentence on the felony charge, concurrent to a six-to-twelve month suspended sentence on the misdemeanor, with credit for time served. Ellis was ordered to follow probation conditions, which include mental health counseling.

Bennington police were called to a Coleville Road residence on the morning of March 2 for a report of a man threatening to shoot a woman and himself, according to a court affidavit. Police were told the man at one point "held the gun to his head and then fired a series of shots." The woman told police she ran into the woods "because she was fearful of what he could potentially do to her and her safety."

Police seized a 9 mm pistol with a 10-round magazine in Ellis' truck. Four 9 mm spent shell casings were located in the driveway.

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Ellis was ordered held without bail at his March 5 arraignment, but due to a clerical error, was mistakenly allowed to walk out of the courthouse. Police said he turned himself in that evening.

Under a plea agreement, the state dismissed single counts of felony first degree aggravated assault with a weapon, and misdemeanor domestic assault and aggravated disorderly conduct.

Ellis was represented by defense attorney Frederick Bragdon. The case was prosecuted by Deputy State's Attorney Robert Plunkett.

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


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