BRATTLEBORO — A former Vermont probation officer pleaded guilty Monday to charges he assaulted a woman he knew in an argument over an iPad.
James “Jamey” Edwards, 56, a former resident of Londonderry and Sunderland, was sentenced to a 12- to 18-month sentence, all of it suspended, by Windham Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Mann. The judge also imposed a two-year sentence of probation.
Edwards pleaded guilty to charges that he assaulted a Londonderry woman at her home, as they fought over the computer tablet. Edwards later threatened her with a shovel, in addition to grabbing her arms and “winging her about.” The woman was injured in the incident, according to Windham County Deputy State’s Attorney Dana Nevins.
The woman said she had offered to give the iPad to Edwards, but only after she removed her personal financial information from it. The two then got into a physical altercation and struggle.
The woman testified at Edwards’ sentencing hearing Monday, saying she felt so strongly about the resolution of the case that she flew to Vermont from her home in South Carolina to testify.
“He is a coward who preys on women and children,” she said. She said she supported the plea agreement.
She told the judge that “Jamey,” as she called him, had also moved to South Carolina “to infiltrate my life.”
He has no reason to be in South Carolina, she said, and he left behind his family in Vermont. The assault took place in June 2019 in Londonderry, and Edwards was arrested shortly afterward.
The woman said she had told her friends and family that if she was ever killed, that Edwards should be the suspect.
Mann imposed conditions that Edwards must stay 300 feet away from the woman, her home, her place of employment and her vehicle, as well as restricting his consumption of alcohol, and he must submit to alcohol testing on a spot basis.
According to the woman, Edwards only moved to South Carolina to follow her and makes a fraction of his former pay working in a grocery store. She said that Edwards had at first apologized to her and said he was working on his anger and control issues, but once he had resolved his departure from state government, the harassment started all over again.
The woman said that she hesitated to call police after the assault, but she thanked Kati Sell-Knapp, a victim’s advocate with the Windham County State’s Attorney’s Office, as well as Nevins for “giving her a voice.”
Mann noted that, while Edwards had asked to have his probation case transferred to South Carolina, it wasn’t automatic. She ordered him to report to the local Vermont Probation and Parole office in Brattleboro on Monday, after his court appearance.
Edwards also must undergo mental health screening and follow any recommendations, the judge said.
Edwards was represented by Brattleboro attorney James Valente, who urged the judge to accept the negotiated agreement.