Inside Windham Superior Court, Criminal Division.

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BRATTLEBORO — A local man is facing charges for allegedly making multiple threats with knives while he was under the influence.

Richard F. Johnson, 53, of Brattleboro, pleaded not guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated disorderly conduct during arraignment Wednesday in Windham Superior Court, Criminal Division. Conditions of release approved by Judge Katherine Hayes prohibit him from drinking alcohol, possessing weapons, contacting or being in close proximity to the victims and being out after a new court-imposed curfew.

On Tuesday, an officer with the Brattleboro Police Department was dispatched to Elm Street for a report of a man with a knife threatening multiple people. Officers arrived to find Johnson “stumbling around in the middle of Elm Street,” according to an affidavit, which states his blood alcohol content was 0.122 percent.

When officers made contact, Johnson allegedly lifted up his jacket and showed he was wearing knives on his waistband. A couple described being extremely frightened by the threats.

A victim told police she observed Johnson pushing around a female and the victim told him he can’t treat women like that, then Johnson began yelling at the victim, calling her names and saying he had a knife. Johnson began advancing toward the victim and her boyfriend urged her to come inside his apartment on Elm Street, according to their recounting of events in the affidavit.

When the victim went inside, she told police, Johnson started banging on the door and yelling he had a knife. Her boyfriend told police that Johnson called the victim a “fat stupid [expletive]” then yelled multiple times that he had a knife.

The boyfriend said he looked out of a window next to the door to find Johnson brandishing a knife in his hand, according to the affidavit. He told police Johnson yelled at him that he would be coming back to the apartment every day.

When arrested, Johnson told police he was walking down the street when a woman started yelling at him and a man pulled a gun on him.

“Johnson stated that he did nothing wrong,” the affidavit states. Johnson agreed to have his breath tested for alcohol.

Police said they seized fixed blade knives from Johnson: one was 4 inches long and another was 6 inches long.

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“It was unclear exactly which knife Johnson reportedly brandished,” the affidavit states.

Dana Nevins, deputy state’s attorney, argued for bail to remain at $10,000. He said Johnson’s criminal record includes 19 misdemeanors and two felonies, including driving under the influence for a third time in 2013 in Vermont, violations of release and failures to appear. Johnson also is said to have a criminal history in Maryland and New York.

Attorney Daniel Stevens of the Windham County Public Defender’s Officer said Johnson “tells me he hasn’t been in trouble in 10 years.”

“He has a son named Richard Johnson,” Stevens said, disputing charges alleged in 2018. “Richard Johnson is a pretty common name.”

Nevins said charges for failures to appear in court in Maryland were for a person who shared the same name, weight and height.

Johnson moved back to Vermont to be with his family after his wife died from COVID-19 about two years ago, Stevens said.

“He has significant ties to Vermont,” Stevens said. “He was born here. He was raised here. He did spend a lot of his time in Baltimore as an adult. He was a roofer by trade and he was married.”

Stevens said most importantly, Johnson has his medical insurance coverage in Vermont and has an appointment at Grace Cottage Hospital for a hernia in April.

“He does intend to get into some alcohol treatment,” Stevens said.

Judge Hayes called the alleged conduct “terrifying.” However, she noted it likely had to do with his intoxication.