Bennington man held without bail in stabbing case

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BENNINGTON — A state judge ordered a Bennington man held without bail following his arrest in connection with a stabbing alleged to have occurred on Tuesday afternoon at the intersection of U.S. Route 7 and Kocher Drive.

Joshua David Ellsworth, 28, pleaded not guilty in Bennington County Superior Court on Wednesday to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and operating a motor vehicle in a negligent manner. If convicted, he could face up to life imprisonment because he has previously been convicted of three felonies.

The incident began with Ellsworth pulling up in his car alongside a vehicle containing Travis Squires, a pregnant woman and her three-year-old child, according to an affidavit written by Detective Sergeant Christopher Lauzon of the Bennington Police Department. The latter vehicle was stopped in the left-turn lane on U.S. Route 7, intending to turn onto Kocher Drive.

Squires did not recognize the man until the woman said, "Oh my God," began rolling up the windows and locked the doors, he later told police.

"I'll [expletive] cut you ... I'll kill you ... I'll kill the baby," Ellsworth said while brandishing a knife, according to what Squires told police.

Ellsworth allegedly threw a knife at Squires' car, and both men got out of their respective vehicles, according to the affidavit. A physical altercation ensued.

"Squires said they were standing face-to-face and Josh's arm swung around and stabbed him once in the back," Lauzon wrote. Ellsworth left the scene in his vehicle, nearly hitting another car, witnesses told police.

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The woman and a bystander attended to Squires' wound until police arrived on the scene. A physician at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center later used two layers of stitches and seven staples to close Squires' wound, according to the affidavit.

The woman, who had previously been in a relationship with Ellsworth, said that he "recently threw trash on her porch and kicked the door to her apartment," according to the affidavit. She also said she had received messages from him containing threats. At the time of Tuesday's encounter, Squires was driving the woman to meet up with a relative to seek an order of protection against Ellsworth, she told police.

Police found Ellsworth at the Apple Valley Inn on Route 7 "a short time later," according to the affidavit. Ellsworth's vehicle, parked behind the building, "showed a reddish-brown substance smeared on the driver's side front door [and] outside mirror."

In an interview with police, Ellsworth claimed the woman had "been trying to have him jumped" and was harassing him. At the intersection, Squires and the woman "were 'running their mouths' and he was '[expletive] pissed,'" he said.

Ellsworth said he did not remember how Squires "got cut, we were tossing and turning," according to the affidavit. He added that "if he 'accidentally' cut" Squires, he was trying to protect himself.

Ellsworth's attorney, Jeffrey Rubin, said in court Wednesday that he would request a weight-of-evidence hearing and might also seek home detention for his client.

Contact Luke Nathan at lnathan@benningtonbanner.com.


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