BRATTLEBORO -- Three people who admitted to helping sell illegal drugs in and around Brattleboro were sentenced in federal court.
According to court documents, on Dec. 9, Douglas Radcliffe, 30, of Bennington was sentenced to 20 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Kirstin Waterman, 23, of Brattleboro, was sentenced to time served followed by three years of supervised release. And on Dec. 10, Toni Lynn Fontaine, 26, of Brownsville, was sentenced to time served with five years of supervised release to include six months of home detention.
All three were accused of helping Frank Caraballo, 31, of Holyoke, Mass., sell drugs, including cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin.
In late September, Caraballo was found guilty in federal court of causing the death of Melissa Barratt, 31, of Brattleboro. Her body was found in the woods on the side of East West Road in Dummerston on July 29, 2011.
Radcliffe, Fontaine and Waterman all testified at Caraballo’s trial that they received drugs from him, consuming some and selling the rest. They also testified as to the relationship between Caraballo and Barratt, who sold drugs for Caraballo and also had an intimate relationship with him.
During the trial, the court took testimony that indicated Barratt was murdered because Caraballo suspected her of stealing a safe containing thousands of dollars worth of drugs.
Caraballo is awaiting sentencing, but his attorneys have filed a motion to have his conviction overturned, arguing that the jury didn’t find him or anyone else guilty of actually pulling the trigger of the gun that was used to kill Barratt. Caraballo is currently serving a 16-year sentence for selling illegal drugs in Vermont.
The man who testified on the stand that he was present when Caraballo killed Barratt is due to be sentenced on Dec. 16. Though Joshua Makhanda Lopez told the jury that he watched as Caraballo shot Barratt in the head, the defense cast enough doubt on the motivations for his testimony that the jury didn’t believe him beyond a reasonable doubt, though they were convinced that Caraballo somehow caused her death.
Two other Caraballo associates were recently sentenced, including Pamela Zygmont, 28, of Southampton, Mass., who is the mother of Caraballo’s child. She was sentenced to two years in prison followed by three years of supervised release. In late October, Thomas Parrott, 33, of Putney, was sentenced to 58 months in prison, also followed by three years of supervised release. In addition to pleading guilty to selling illegal drugs, Parrott pleaded guilty to one count of possessing a Glock 17 9mm pistol that had been shipped and transported in interstate commerce. Though the murder weapon was never found, investigators concluded a Glock 17 was used to kill Barratt.
Bob Audette can be reached at email@example.com, or at 802-254-2311, ext. 160. Follow Bob on Twitter @audette.reformer.