Thursday November 8, 2012

BRATTLEBORO - A jury has found a Brattleboro man guilty of sexual assault and he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

David Piquette, 45, who was living at the Unique Vermont Motel and Gift Shop at 1203 Marlboro Rd., will be sentenced by a judge within the next few months after a jury, following a four day trial, found him guilty of sexual assault and of domestic assault.

The sexual assault charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Piquette was also facing a charge of kidnapping after he forcibly held his victim against her will, but the jury did not convict of him of that charge.

He is being held without bail.

"The jury paid careful attention to the evidence and deliberated carefully and rendered its verdict," said Deputy Windham County State’s Attorney David Gartenstein, who was the prosecutor in the case. "We respect the decision and look forward to sentencing."

Piquette was arrested on Dec. 7, 2011, after the victim told police that he had held her in the motel room and forced her to have sex with him a few days before.

According to court records, the victim met Piquette over the Internet in August 2011. The two communicated over the Internet and then first met in September in western Massachusetts, she told police

In mid October she visited him in Brattleboro and then in November, after she lost her job, she moved in with Piquette. The two began arguing over money, the victim told police, and on Thursday, Dec. 1, she told Piquette that she wanted to return to New York.

He grabbed her keys and became violent and, according to her testimony, he sexually assaulted her three times that night.

Piquette also struck her repeatedly and choked her seven times, according to court records.

The next day the two fought again and Piquette put his knees to her throat, causing her to choke and to have trouble breathing.

Later that morning she was able to get her keys back from Piquette and she drove back to New York. Piquette followed for about an hour, the victim told police.

She contacted the New York State Police in Ulster on Dec. 3 and reported the assault. Later that day the Brattleboro Police Department received information on the assault and began to watch the motel.

Piquette called his place of employment on Monday and Tuesday following the weekend assault, and said he would not be coming in to work.

He was arrested in Brattleboro on Dec. 7 at around 4 p.m. without incident.

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at hwtisman@reformer.com or at 802-254-2311 ext. 279.