BRATTLEBORO -- A 21-year-old student at the Austine School for the Deaf facing up to life in prison and $60,000 in fines was ordered held without bail Friday after allegedly attacking a woman in her office at the school.
Brattleboro Police say Timothy P. Carroll, of Massachusetts, who lived at the school, has been charged with kidnapping and aggravated assault, both felonies, for attacking a 43-year-old supervisor on Thursday, Feb. 7. A competency evaluation was also ordered but a date has not been set.
According to his affidavit, Officer William E. Davies Jr. was dispatched to the Austine School Vermont Hall Building 209 at approximately 8:32 a.m. on a report of a student choking a supervisor. Davies said he got to the scene and saw the supervisor crying in the hallway outside her office. He reported he could see the woman’s face was red and also saw red marks were on her throat.
The victim told Davies that Carroll came into her office angry "because of the sun shining on him." Carroll saw a form with someone else’s name on the supervisor’s desk and became irate when she moved it.
Carroll, according to court documents, locked the office door from the inside to prevent the supervisor from leaving or anyone from helping her. The supervisor told police she retreated as Carroll came at her in a threatening manner before he grabbed the chair’s arms off her chair and threw them at her.
She said she moved behind a table at the rear of the room and Carroll picked up a chair and threw it at her before doing the same with another chair. The supervisor told police she fell backward but managed to get up quickly and go around the other side of the table.
The victim said she tried to get to the door to unlock it but Carroll came up from behind her and punched her in the back of the head, striking her cochlear implant sound processors. The punch resulted in pain and a bump. Carroll then grabbed her by the throat when she tried to move away.
She said Carroll grabbed her windpipe and she thought he was going to "tear it out." It became difficult for her to breathe and she thought she was going to die, according to court documents. She said she did not know how, but she was able to get the door unlocked.
Carroll was restrained by a co-worker. The supervisor told police her emotional pain was at a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10.
Deputy Windham County State’s Attorney David Gartenstein said the hold without bail is legally authorized because the kidnapping charge carries with it the potential for a life-in-prison penalty.
"However," he told the Reformer, "the first matter is the evaluation of Mr. Carroll to determine his competency and sanity."
Dr. Janet Dickinson, the director of the Austine School for the Deaf, said while she couldn’t discuss the particulars of the incident, she wanted to assure the public that no children were in danger.
"The staff take the safety of the children as a priority and the staff acted very quickly," she said.
Dickinson said Austine has safety standards, pursuant to licensing regulations and state educational approval regulations, in addition to its own safety procedures that were utilized in this incident.
"In case of an incident such as this, which is contained and far away from any other children and where there was multiple staff, we have a specialized behavior program and procedures in place to address it right away, which is what happened in this case," she said.
Domenic Poli can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.
Reformer Day Editor Bob Audette contributed to this story.