Whitingham man sentenced for shooting charges

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BRATTLEBORO — A Whitingham man will spend three nights in jail and seven days on work crew for charges related to a shooting incident in July 2014.

Tyson Dix, who was 39 at the time, told police he did not aim the shotgun he fired at the victim Jonathan Corbosierro, who was 33. Corbosierro's left arm and vehicle were struck with pellets.

"At this time, I need to extend my apologies to Mr. Corbosierro and say that I'm sorry," Dix said during his sentencing hearing Monday in Windham Superior Court, Criminal Division. "I haven't had that opportunity since this started, for good reason. It needs to happen. I am truly sorry. I never meant to cause any harm."

Dix previously pleaded no contest to reckless endangerment and simple assault. Interpreters were needed at the sentencing hearing because Corbosierro is deaf.

"The issue here is not solely to punish Mr. Dix, but I can't send a message that it's OK to take the law into your own hands and shoot at someone because they have been threatening to you in the past," said Judge Michael Kainen.

Dix was ordered to complete 100 hours of community service, and participate in hunter-safety and anger management courses. He will spend two years on probation.

Dix also will need to complete offender remediation if offered.

"I would hope that both parties would like to engage in that because there's obviously a tension that resulted in this and I would hope that that tension would be broken or at least alleviated by some type of discussion," said Kainen.

Vermont State Police Det. Lt. John-Paul Schmidt told the court he interviewed Dix and Corbosierro after the incident. He also observed Corbosierro's Mustang.

"There were numerous marks along the passenger's side that appeared to be consistent with damages from a shotgun," said Schmidt.

Schmidt said Dix told him he fired shots in the air as a warning — "just to make some noise — because Corbosierro was yelling expletives at him. Dix had started dating Corbosierro's ex-girlfriend and Corbosierro had worked for Dix.

"I'm not out to hurt anybody," Dix said in the interview, which Schmidt read to the court. "That's not my intention at all. I've got too much to lose to be doing anything like that ... It wasn't like I was aiming, you know? I just went out and fired from the hip."

Schmidt said Corbosierro was adamant that there was no argument or discussion that led to the altercation. But Schmidt later found a text message Corbosierro sent to his ex-girlfriend, who was at Dix's home the night of the incident. The communication showed Corbosierro and the woman were discussing child care arrangements as they had a kid together. Corbosierro also was said to be a father figure to the woman's older child.

No other witnesses were called to the stand on Monday.

Lindsey Babson, Corbosierro's attorney, read a victim-impact statement. Dix "was supposed to be my friend and boss. I used to talk with him about my relationship problems," the statement says.

The case was not about self defense, Corbosierro said.

"All that matters were my children were in that house," his statement says. "I'm constantly worrying about the well-being and safety of my children."

Corbosierro claimed he is having issues trusting people now and is experiencing pain in his arm. He also worries about lead poisoning as a result of the shot.

Corbosierro called for Dix to be imprisoned "as long as possible" with "unannounced drop-ins" from probation officers once released.

"This is not a self-defense case," Deputy State's Attorney Steven Brown said. "This is a case where Mr. Dix, who was motivated by anger and frustration, took matters into his own hands. He had many opportunities to seek assistance and help from the police, and he didn't do so."

The two men "had a very complicated, very tense relationship with each other," Brown said, calling Dix's behavior "extremely

dangerous."

"I think what's most telling about the interview," Brown said, "is at no point and time did Mr. Dix say he was in fear of his family or property. He was frustrated. He was mad. He decided to go inside and grab a deadly weapon and fire it at Mr. Corbosierro."

Brown said the group gathered at court Monday would not have been there if Dix had acted differently.

"We want people to call the police," Brown said. "We want people to seek assistance from law enforcement, who are specially trained to come in and deal with these matters."

Any claim for self defense, he added, "is just not supported by the evidence."

William Kraham, defense attorney, noted the high turnout of family members and friends in the courtroom to support Dix. Kraham argued for one year of probation for both counts and no jail time.

Dix did not know much about how the gun would fire, Kraham told the court.

"About all he knew was the pellets spread over distance," Kraham said. "How far they spread, he didn't know. How far they would travel, he didn't know."

Dix originally put the shotgun up to his shoulder but then changed his mind before pulling the trigger, Kraham said. Dix "realized it would be the wrong thing to do" and lowered the gun to his hip, Kraham added.

Kraham described Dix as law-abiding, generous and kind. He called Dix a "loving father" and "respected member of his community."

Kraham said Corbosierro had threatened and stalked Dix. Corbosierro also allegedly assaulted Dix at a bowling alley.

"All of this has to take a toll on a person," Kraham said. "Anger was a part of what he did but so were fear and a father's instinct to protect his family. He's not a confrontational person and he did something that he now regrets. He's remorseful. He knows he made a mistake. He wished it didn't happen."

Kraham called the state's request for a 90-day jail sentence "way off the charts." He said Dix feels embarrassed and ashamed.

"I think he's beating himself up too much," Kraham said. "We learn from our mistakes, we grow, we pick ourselves up and we move on. And Tyson is ready to move on. He's still a good and gentle man."

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at

@CMaysBR on Twitter and

802-254-2311, ext. 273.

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