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BENNINGTON — A 31-year-old man pleaded not guilty to felony kidnapping and aggravated assault charges Tuesday after pointing a loaded weapon at a man and woman on Butternut Gutter in Arlington last week.

Shane Christopher Leland of Arlington was charged by the Vermont State Police with kidnapping of a victim less than 16 years old and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, as well as two misdemeanors — possession of firearm by a felon, and reckless endangerment — stemming from an alleged drunken incident on Oct. 15.

Leland made his plea Tuesday via video from Marble Valley Correctional Facility at his arraignment before Vermont Superior Judge John Valente at the Vermont Superior Courthouse in Bennington.

According to a police affidavit, a complaint came in that Leland attacked a man, someone he’d never met, when that man, the man’s girlfriend and their three young children visited Leland’s house for a sleepover. Leland started “jawing” with the man within 15 minutes of their arrival and, later on, Leland brought two handguns and a rifle onto a porch they had gathered on.

At some point, the man’s girlfriend checked on the kids. At that point, Leland allegedly loaded one of the handguns, cocked it, took the safety off and pointed its laser sight at the man’s head, threatening to shoot him and bury him 6 feet underground.

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The girlfriend returned and stepped in between the men. Leland then pointed the handgun at the girlfriend’s chest. The man and his girlfriend attempted to gather their kids into their car. He was able to get the kids inside just as Leland allegedly attacked him in full view of the children. Leland then ran to the car, attempting to rip one of the kids from the vehicle’s back seat. The two men started fighting again before the victim was able to get away and drive off.

A record check of Leland revealed a previous conviction for domestic assault from 2013.

The charge of kidnapping of a victim under 16 carries a sentence of not more than life imprisonment and/or a $50,000 fine; aggravated assault with a deadly weapon carries a penalty of not more than five years, a $5,000 fine or both; possession of a prohibited firearm carries a sentence of not more than two years and/or a $1,000 fine. Reckless endangerment carries a penalty of not more than one year, a $1,000 fine or both.

Leland is being held without bail.


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