BENNINGTON — A Bennington man who threatened police with a crossbow in March is now out on probation.
Brenden Bruso, 21, pleaded guilty to three charges — aggravated assault, domestic assault and simple assault — on May 3 and was sentenced on Tuesday in Bennington Superior Court.
Bruso’s sentence is a total of three to five years, all suspended, and probation. He also got 70 days with time served. As part of his probation, he has to adhere to several conditions.
Conditions of probation
In addition to the standard conditions of probation, Bruso was ordered to obey 12 additional special conditions of probation.
Those include electronic monitoring as directed by his probation officer; mental health and anger management and risk reduction program screening; treatment if the previously mentioned screenings deem it to be necessary; no violent or threatening behavior; a curfew as directed by his probation officer; no firearms, muzzleloaders or deadly weapons.
He will be doing a restorative justice program to “mend fences with the police department,” said Alexander Burke, deputy state’s attorney.
In Bruso’s conditions, there is an option for his probation officer to give him up to 50 hours of community service, in lieu of a violation, if that becomes necessary. Defense attorney Frederick Bragdon called it a “relief valve.”
To this condition, Bruso responded, “Can I do the 50 hours?”
Judge Cortland Corsones, who presided over the hearing, replied that the defendant should run that by his probation officer so he can receive credit for the community service, but Bragdon said Bruso could always do community service.
The prosecution seemed satisfied with the plea agreement and sentencing.
“The man in court today and the man at the change of plea hearing presents a very different person than who police have dealt with for the last six months or so. And I am very happy with that change,” said Burke.
When Corsones asked if Bruso had any questions, Bruso wanted to make sure he could continue the medications he started in jail. He attributed the change in his demeanor to his medication. He also said, “I would like to get myself into therapy.”
“I don’t recognize you as the person in the documents that I read about,” said Corsones.
Summary of the crime
On the morning of March 9, police found a trail of blood at four corners on Main Street, in front of Fiddlehead Gallery. According to court documents, the trail went on for 100 feet until it ended in front of Bruso’s door.
When police arrived at Bruso’s apartment, he started yelling and cursing at the officers before returning to his apartment to retrieve a metal bar. The officers had their tasers at the ready, only for Bruso to go back into his apartment. He then reappeared in the doorway holding a hidden object, but then went back into his apartment for a third time.
Bruso reappeared on the ledge of a second-story window. While he was standing there, officers watched video surveillance of four corners that showed a scuffle involving someone matching Bruso’s description.
This is when one of the officers noticed Bruso had returned to his doorway and was holding a crossbow. He was then brought into custody.
Even when considering this history, Burke seemed confident he would not see Bruso in court again.
Bruso added, “Going to jail … excuse my French but … [expletive] that.”