BENNINGTON — A man accused of fatally beating a Bennington man last year is now being held without bail after getting charged with another felony offense.
The defendant, Joseph Cattani, 39, was charged Aug. 20 with attempted unlawful trespass into his girlfriend’s home in Bennington. He pleaded not guilty and is detained at the Rutland correctional facility while waiting for a bail-related hearing.
Bennington Police said that in July, Cattani tried to break into his girlfriend’s apartment while the couple were arguing. Police also said he repeatedly violated a curfew imposed in his manslaughter case, where he is alleged to have beaten Christopher Sharby to death last September.
The apartment owners told police that on July 3, their son saw Cattani trying to kick and punch his girlfriend’s locked door, according to a sworn statement by Sgt. Jason Burnham. The investigator said the owners provided him with a video of the incident.
The owners said Cattani has never been named on the apartment lease and that they’ve never given consent for him to stay there. But Cattani’s girlfriend has allowed him to live there — and it is even his address registered in court.
“I am very uncomfortable with Joseph Cattani being on our property,” the landlady, Bonnie Myers, told police in a written statement, citing incidents of Cattani and his girlfriend’s arguing in the middle of the night. “As a taxpayer and homeowner, it is wrong for me to be afraid in my own home.”
The landlords also reported seeing Cattani come and go from the apartment late at night — during hours that police said go against his existing conditions of release from jail. One of the court-imposed conditions forbids him from leaving home between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
The apartment owners also submitted photos that show Cattani leaving the apartment on three occasions during his curfew, the police affidavit states.
On top of his unlawful trespass charge, Cattani’s newest criminal case includes three misdemeanor charges of violating conditions of release.
During his arraignment on Aug. 20, defense attorney Susan McManus told the court that Cattani’s girlfriend was surprised to hear of his unlawful trespass charge because she has allowed him to stay in her apartment.
Deputy State’s Attorney Robert Plunket said Cattani will have to look for a new residence where he can lawfully stay.
Judge Cortland Corsones imposed $1,000 bail, citing factors that include the charges of violence against Cattani, as well as the number of his pending charges. The judge said Cattani is facing a total of 14 felony and misdemeanor charges in nine cases.
McManus told the court that Cattani has no ability to pay bail. He has been detained at Marble Valley Correctional Facility since that day.
On Monday, Cattani was ordered held without bail, according to court records.
He is scheduled to return to Bennington Superior criminal court on Sept. 14 for a weight of the evidence hearing.
COMMEMORATING CHRISTOPHER SHARBY
Meanwhile, Sharby’s relatives are planning to mark his one-year death anniversary with a balloon release on Sunday.
It will be held behind the building of the nonprofit organization Greater Bennington Interfaith Community Services, at 121 Depot St., where Sharby’s body was found in the early morning of Sept. 5, 2020.
Police said Sharby, 46, had gone to sleep and didn’t wake up. Investigators believe his death was the result of an assault by Cattani a day earlier.
Sharby’s brother, Bruce Sharby, told the Banner he is happy that Cattani is now being held without bail. “It’s about time,” he said. “He didn’t care about the court conditions.”
Christopher Sharby’s sister-in-law, Joanne Sharby, said his death tragically happened on the same day as the birthday of his eldest child and only son.
His children, a boy and two girls between the ages of 19 and 11, will be joining the commemoration on Sunday. The Sharbys said community members are welcome to join them. The event will begin at 5 p.m.