Brattleboro felon found with nine guns

Joshua Stratton of Brattleboro, is currently in federal custody, accused of being a felon in possession of nine firearms after he was found at a "make-shift" shooting range in Putney on the evening of June 30.

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BURLINGTON — A Brattleboro man pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Burlington on Wednesday afternoon to a charge of illegal possession of four firearms by a convicted felon.

Joshua R. Stratton, 36, also is facing a separate charge of violating three supervised release conditions imposed in 2020 for an unrelated case of being a convicted felon in illegal possession of nine firearms.

His wife, Sherrie Stratton, 30, also is named in one count of the new indictment for a charge of transferring three firearms to her husband, knowing he was a convicted felon and was prohibited from possessing them. She is due for arraignment on June 28.

Joshua Stratton appeared from the Cheshire County (N.H.) Jail for a virtual court hearing Wednesday. Stratton did acknowledge during the hearing that he had been treated in the past for narcotic addiction. He said he had struggled with addiction since age 13.

Magistrate Judge Kevin Doyle agreed with a government request to hold Stratton without bail pending trial as a danger to the community and a risk to flee. The defense did not contest the request.

The indictment charges Sherrie Stratton between Nov. 11, 2021, and March 21 with transferring three firearms to her husband: a Smith & Wesson .223 Rem AR-style rifle; a Savage Arms A17 .17 HMR rifle and a Komando 12-gauge shotgun.

Her husband is charged with possessing those three guns, along with a Ruger .22LR rifle when a U.S. probation officer did a home inspection on March 21, officials said.

Doyle noted the government is seeking the forfeiture of the four firearms upon a conviction. If convicted, Joshua and Sherrie Stratton face up to 10 years of imprisonment.

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Stratton is charged with three violations of his supervised release terms. He was under court orders not to be arrested for any new crimes and also not to possess any weapons. He also was to avoid drugs. Court papers maintain he had heroin and/or fentanyl on Feb. 17 and March 3.

Joshua Stratton received a federal conviction for illegal possession of firearms by a felon after a June 30, 2019, shooting incident in Putney. He was eventually sentenced to more than 13 months in prison after pleading guilty.

Vermont State Police found Stratton with four rifles, three shotguns and two handguns when responding to reports of gunfire near Sand Hill and Kimball roads, according to Trooper John Waitekus.

At that time, Stratton’s state criminal record included at least three felony convictions for aggravated assault with a weapon, marijuana possession of 2 ounces or more, and marijuana cultivation of over 25 plants, records showed. He also had numerous misdemeanor DUI convictions.

“In addition, over the last 18 months, law enforcement has had multiple reports and interactions with Stratton, indicating he is likely involved in trafficking and abusing narcotics,” the detention motion noted.

The nine firearms were on the ground, near open and closed alcohol containers, officials said at the time.

Sherrie Stratton reported “shooting is his therapy” when her husband was found at a makeshift firing range in a gravel pit, records show.

A 2-year-old girl was found with no ear protection in the backseat of a nearby 2008 Lexus, Waitekus said. Stratton’s breath test showed 0.034 percent alcohol, the trooper wrote.