BENNINGTON — Bennington County’s longest-jailed defendant is scheduled for a jury trial in July, the county’s first since the coronavirus outbreak hit Vermont in March 2020.
The defendant, Josh Boyer, of Bennington, is set for a three-day trial starting July 29, according to his pretrial hearing on Wednesday. Jury selection will begin July 27.
Boyer, 34, is accused of repeatedly sexually and physically assaulting a teenage girl at a Bennington home sometime between the summer of 2017 and the spring of 2018. The girl, whom he knew, was 14 years old.
He is charged with three felony counts: repeated aggravated sexual assault on a child, aggravated domestic assault, as well as aggravated sexual assault on a child resulting in serious injury. All his charges carry a potential penalty of life in prison.
He has been detained at Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility, in Rutland, since April 2018, making him Bennington County’s longest-held inmate who is waiting for a case resolution.
Boyer’s lawyer and the prosecutor both said they were ready to bring the case to a jury after plea negotiations didn’t bear fruit. Both parties said they didn’t see the need for the court to come up with back-up cases to try, which would come into play if Boyer’s trial is canceled or postponed.
“We’re ready to go,” public defender Kate Lamson told Superior Judge Cortland Corsones on Wednesday. “This case has been set for trial for a long time.”
Boyer was scheduled for a retrial in the spring of 2020, but this was placed on hold when state jury trials were frozen because of the coronavirus pandemic. State jury trials finally resumed in May, through a Windsor County criminal case.
In the intervening period, Boyer filed numerous court motions, including asking the state Supreme Court to grant him release from jail while waiting for trial. His requests were denied.
Boyer’s jury trial, which is scheduled for July 29-30 and August 2, will be the first in Bennington County since February of last year. Like in other counties, it will incorporate new, pandemic-related safety protocols.
It is the only Bennington trial scheduled for July. Chief Superior Judge Brian Grearson said courthouses will schedule more trials each month as they learn from the experience of their first pandemic-period trials.