In the courts

The following cases were recently heard in Vermont Superior Court Criminal Division Bennington:

Man with "extensive" criminal history accused of a assaulting teen

David E. Mears, 39, pleaded not guilty on Aug. 21 to felony aggravated assault, two counts felony aggravated stalking and misdemeanor counts of providing false information to police and simple assault.

A juvenile told police that at about 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 21 he was assaulted by a homeless man while he and a girl he knew were walking near Depot Street and Benmont Avenue, according to an affidavit by Bennington Officer Amanda R. Knox. The man allegedly followed them and then grabbed the 13-year-old boy by the throat.

The boy told police he was able to break free and the man took off running. The man was described as "short, skinny, with 'rugged up' clothing and short dreadlocks."

Officers later found a man who matched that description on Benmont Avenue and ultimately determined he was Mears, who allegedly gave a fake name when first questioned by police.

Mears has an extensive criminal history, including two felony convictions, 54 misdemeanor convictions, 20 convictions for violating court orders and seven convictions for assault behavior, according to court documents.

Mears was ordered held without bail at his arraignment and referred for a mental health screening. He will return to court for a future weight of evidence hearing.

Jury convicts man who cut trees

Jeremy T. Joseph, 36, of Manchester Center, was found guilty by jury trial on Tuesday of three felony counts taking parcels of realty.

Joseph was charged in May 2015 after he was accused of cutting down trees without a Shaftsbury property owner's authorization, straying onto the property of three neighbors and cutting down trees on their property without authorization.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 2.

Woman threatened man with knife, aggressive dog

Likah Charanda, 52, of Rupert, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

Vermont State Police responded to a Pawlet Mountain Road residence for a reported assault at about 5 p.m. on Aug. 17, Sgt. Robert Zink said in a news release. Charanda allegedly "waived and lunged" at a man with a large knife and threatened him with a "very large and aggressive dog."

Troopers attempted to locate Charanda, but she refused to come outside her residence for police, Zink said. Charanda was arrested on Tuesday, according to court documents.

She was referred for a mental health screening; a court hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

Man sentenced for assault

Donald Myers III, 30, of Bennington, pleaded guilty on Friday to felony second degree aggravated domestic assault with a prior conviction and misdemeanor unlawful mischief.

The charges stem from an incident on Feb. 3. Bennington police said Myers struck his father with a wooden dowel approximately three times in the back and three to four times in the back of the head, causing the dowel to break, and knocked over and smashed a shelf.

Myers received a suspended sentence of 18 to 36 months for the assault charge, to run concurrent to a 3- to 6-month suspended sentence for the unlawful mischief charge.


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