BRATTLEBORO -- Three men pleaded not guilty Monday to felony charges of first-degree aggravated domestic assault in separate cases from Brattleboro, Bellows Falls and Athens.
One of the suspects -- Christopher L. Thompson, 25, of Athens -- was imprisoned without bail due to the fact that he also is charged with violating his probation and has a history of such offenses.
Judge David Suntag imposed bail and/or conditions of release for the other two suspects -- Alan N. Scott, 63, of Brattleboro, and Shane C. Dionne, 38, of Bellows Falls.
-- Thompson was arrested Sunday and faces three charges. In addition to the felony, he is charged with misdemeanor counts of domestic assault and cruelty to a child under 10 years old.
Vermont State Police Trooper Timothy Gould said he responded just after 8 p.m. Sunday to a disturbance. In a police affidavit filed in Windham Superior Court Criminal Division, Gould said he observed injuries suffered by a female victim including "bruising on both upper arms, light redness on the right side of her neck, a bruise on her left shin and a scrape on her right shin."
The victim reported that Thompson had grabbed her throat and held it, leaving her feeling light-headed. Additionally, the woman said an infant had suffered scratches when Thompson took the baby from her.
The Reformer does not identify alleged victims of domestic assault.
Thompson was found walking on Valley Cemetery Road and later was arrested, police said. At his arraignment Monday afternoon, Windham County State's Attorney Tracy Shriver asked that Thompson be held without bail because he is accused of violating the terms of his probation.
Court documents show Thompson was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in July 2012 and received a five-year deferred sentence, meaning he could stay out of jail if he successfully completed probation.
But court papers show that, in October 2013, the deferred sentence was revoked due to Thompson's use of the prescription painkiller Percocet. He was sentenced to 18 to 24 months in prison, but that jail time was suspended aside from 41 days.
The following month, Thompson again was sentenced to 18 to 24 months for using marijuana. That sentence was suspended aside from 60 days.
Defense attorney Joanne Baltz said her client will claim self-defense and, if he was released from prison, had a place where he could reside in the Bellows Falls area.
But Suntag granted the hold-without-bail request on the probation-violation charge. He counted at least 10 prior violations on Thompson's record, saying "all of that establishes a track record."
-- Alan Scott was released on conditions including an order to have no contact with the alleged victim in his case. He pleaded not guilty to the felony assault charge and to a misdemeanor account of interference with access to emergency services.
In an affidavit, Brattleboro police Officer Gregory Eaton wrote that the incident happened Saturday. The alleged victim claimed Scott grabbed her from behind and squeezed her in a "bear hug" and that he had squeezed her neck so that she could not breathe for about 30 seconds.
"When asked if A. Scott was saying anything while grabbing her throat, (the victim) replied, 'I'd like to kill you,'" Eaton wrote.
Scott also is accused of slapping the woman's face.
The woman reported that, when she tried to call police, Scott took away her phone. She also alleged that Scott attempted to disable her car.
Scott told police that the woman had been "provoking him all day" and that he had grabbed the woman's throat only after she "came at me," according to Eaton's affidavit.
In an unrelated case, Scott was charged last year with driving under the influence. That case is pending in Windham Superior Court Criminal Division.
Scott's conditions of release include a prohibition on consuming alcohol.
-- Shane Dionne pleaded not guilty to the felony assault charge as well as a misdemeanor count of domestic assault.
Bellows Falls police said that, in the early morning hours Saturday, officers were dispatched for a reported assault. The victim told police that, after an argument, Dionne "became very angry and shoved her, causing her to fall to the ground."
Dionne also pushed her against a door and put his hands around her neck, police said. The victim "advised that, when his hands were around her neck, he told her that he could kill her, which terrified her," according to an affidavit.
Dionne denied assaulting the woman, police said.
At arraignment on Monday, Shriver requested that Dionne be held without bail. But defense attorney Samuel Angell noted a lack of any criminal record.
"I do believe that a hold without bail is excessive given the facts of the case," Angell argued, adding that Dionne disputes many of the alleged facts.
Suntag ordered continuation of $2,500 bail that had been imposed when Dionne was arrested. Dionne also can have no contact with the alleged victim.
Mike Faher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.