Federal prison for threat to kill prosecutor

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BURLINGTON — A Bennington man who was serving 25 years to life in state prison for sexual assault is now serving a concurrent federal prison sentence after admitting to mailing a threat to a local prosecutor.

William O. Stanley was given a 41-month federal prison sentence this winter in U.S. District Court in Burlington, court records show.

A two-count indictment charged Stanley with, on or about Aug. 22, 2013, mailing a letter threatening to kill a Bennington County deputy state's attorney, as well as destroying with fire or explosives the court at the state office complex in Bennington.

The prosecutor's identity and specifics of the threats were not described in court documents.

When Stanley made the threats, he was already being held without bail in a state prison stemming from charges filed in Vermont Superior Court Bennington, criminal division.

Stanley has been in the custody of the U.S. Marshals since his May 2015 arraignment on the federal charges, court records show.

Stanley pleaded guilty in federal court in Burlington on Feb. 2, 2016 to one count of mailing a threatening communication. Stanley wasn't sentenced until a hearing in the same court before Judge Christina Reiss on Feb. 5 of this year, court records show.

The federal prison sentence was set to begin April 1, according to court documents. It will run concurrent to his existing sentence given on the Vermont state conviction.

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Stanley, 56, is listed as an inmate at the Federal Medical Center, Devens in Ayer, Mass., according to the online U.S. Bureau of Prisons database. The federal prison is in Worcester County, about 40 miles west of Boston.

When his federal sentence is complete, Stanley will be on federal supervised release for one year.

Under a plea agreement, the second count of the indictment — to destroy the courthouse — was dismissed.

The federal case was prosecuted by Acting U.S. Attorney Eugenia A.P. Cowles. Stanley's attorney at sentencing was Mark A. Kaplan.

Cowles told the Banner in May 2015 that Stanley's ability to carry out the threats was not a factor in the charges. She said in a statement at the time that "The federal government takes any threat against state prosecutors and the state judiciary extremely seriously."

A jury convicted Stanley of sexual assault after a trial in Bennington criminal court in September 2013. The victim was a woman who knew Stanley and testified that he assaulted her in October 2012. Stanley was sentenced in July 2014 to a minimum of 25 years and a maximum of life in prison.

Several weeks before the assault charge was filed, Stanley had been released from state prison, having been jailed in 2005 for escaping custody.

Ed Damon can be reached at edamon@benningtonbanner.com, at @edamon_banner on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 111.


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