BENNINGTON — A competency hearing scheduled for accused killer Darren Pronto on Wednesday was postponed until this fall.
Pronto, 32, still faces charges for the slaying of Emily Hamann on Jan. 18, 2021, as she walked on the downtown Bennington Riverwalk. He allegedly waited along the path, jumped Hamann and slit her throat — leaving the 26-year-old’s young child without a mother.
After he was arrested, Pronto’s sister told police that he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He was then subjected to a psychological examination by his defense lawyer, and he was found unfit to stand trial.
Pronto was subjected to a second psychological competency examination by the prosecution, made possible by a new Vermont state law. Judge Cortland Corsones decided to support the second evaluation, because the original doctor deviated from the normal standard for testing.
The hearing to be held Wednesday was that second competency hearing, but it was changed to a scheduling conference. The competency hearing will be rescheduled for late September or early October.
Pronto declined to attend this scheduling conference, and his lawyer Frederick Bragdon said he wasn’t “surprised.” While Hamann’s mother, Kelly Carroll, is frustrated that Pronto’s absence is referred to as a voluntary absence instead of him refusing to show up, she’s happy the hearing has been deferred.
She believes this is all the jail time Pronto will receive.
“It’s not justice for Emily,” Carroll said.
Carroll was joined in the courtroom by about 10 other people wearing shirts that read “Emily’s voice” and “Justice for Emily.” She was also holding a large photo of Hamann but was asked by the court to put it down.