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Lindsay Latour, 33, right, and William Danforth, 33, were seeking release on bail Wednesday. The two face various assault charges.

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BENNINGTON — Two fugitives who first fled an arrest warrant but turned themselves in to authorities two weeks ago were back in court Wednesday asking to be released on bail.

Bennington Superior Court Justice Cortland Corsones held a weight of evidence hearing for Lindsay Latour, 33, and William Danforth, 33, stemming from the beating of a 34-year-old mother in Pownal this past November.

Latour is charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of aiding in the commission of an assault and robbery. Danforth is charged with two counts of aggravated domestic assault, two counts of aggravated assault, and one count of assault and robbery. Both defendants are being held without bail.

Deputies at the incident scene identified the victim of the Nov. 16 assault as a 34-year-old mother of a 1-year-old child. The victim was transported to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center after the assault for treatment for facial and body injuries, including a laceration to the lip, forehead, bruised eye, and numerous bruises on her upper body, arms, hips, and left leg.

While investigating the first incident, investigators learned a prior alleged assault occurred Nov. 13, in which Danforth and Latour went to the home of the victim, who instructed them to leave. This started a verbal exchange between the three. The victim struck Latour once in the head. Latour struck back and then strangled the woman, who ended up on the floor with Latour sitting on her, pinning her arms and repeatedly punching the woman’s head before being pulled off by Danforth.

That same victim was walking when Danforth allegedly got out of his car, approached her, and screamed at her. He then allegedly put her in a stranglehold using an arm, picked her up, and threw her onto the gravel road surface. Latour, who was also there, allegedly began to stomp on the woman’s face and upper body. Danforth took the victim’s handbag and put it in his car, and the two left the scene. The bloodied victim walked to her mother’s house, and police and rescue were called. Both defendants and the victim in the incident are known to each other.

The victim of the alleged assaults took the stand during Wednesday’s hearing to describe the beating she endured at the hands of both defendants, and to describe the impact it has had on her life afterward.

“I’m so scared. I can’t sleep. I don’t know what he will do next if they’re both released. I know his temperament. He scares the hell out of me. She’s worse than he is. She doesn’t care,” the defendant stated during questioning by Deputy State’s Attorney Andrew Bevacqua. Emotion then filled the victim’s voice as she described the beatdown she took, both in her home and on the street.

“She pulled my hair, then slammed me to the ground, where they both stomped on me, punched, and kicked on me. At some point, the defendant’s sister joined in stomping on me. There were three of them stomping me on the ground,” she said. “She got on top of me at the house, and beat me with punches for a minute before being pulled away.”

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Bevacqua then entered several graphic photographs of the victim after the beating into evidence. The victim was seen with numerous bruises and scratches on her head, arms, legs and arms.

The victim went on to describe past threats and incidents of violence that the defendant, Danforth, allegedly made in the past. “He put rounds in his gun and threatened to shoot me. Once, he forced my head in a bowl of water,” she stated quietly under her mask from the witness stand.

Defense attorneys Josh Stern and Richard Burgoon both cross-examined the witness. Each attorney was able to find inconsistencies in the victim’s account, and at one point, the victim admitted she threw the first punch in the first incident in her home. She also admitted on the stand that in the second incident, she threw her handbag at Danforth’s car. The robbery charge stems from Danforth picking up the purse and placing it in his car after the victim threw it.

A weight of evidence hearing determines how strong the case is against defendants. However, the primary purpose is to determine whether the defendant will be released on bail, held without bail, or released with conditions.

Stern, representing Lindsay Latour, called Latour’s father — a former Bennington County Sheriff — to the stand. “Lindsay has had some substance abuse issues,” he said. “We have removed our firearms and any alcohol from the property, and have set up a set of strict rules for her if she’s released.”

Burgoon, representing Danforth, also produced a witness who vouched for Danforth, promised to look after him, and vowed to call authorities in case any conditions are violated should he be released.

Bevacqua asked the judge that both defendants remain held without bail. “This was a brutal attack,” he said. “It took a while before they turned themselves in.”

Burgoon and Stein, however, asked that their clients be released on conditions.

Corsones took both decisions “under advisement,” stating that he would make a written decision as soon as possible.


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