BRATTLEBORO — A local man agreed to a deal that resolves all his outstanding court dockets.
Mark Zostant, 50, of Brattleboro, on Thursday in Windham Superior Court, Criminal Division, pleaded guilty to domestic assault and violating court-ordered conditions involving contacting the victim and driving vehicles without an interlock device.
Thirty days of his 16- to 18-month sentence were served in prison. Dana Nevins, deputy state’s attorney, said Zostant already had been incarcerated for at least 30 days.
“The state’s goal was always that the defendant take responsibility for assaulting” the victim, Nevins said, adding that components of the agreement — such as treatment, direct supervision and “fairly strict” conditions — will help reform Zostant’s behavior. “These were very, very harmful actions.”
Defense attorney Daniel S. Stevens told the court Zostant “is here today to take responsibility for the charges” he pleaded guilty to and will be taking a domestic violence class called Taking Responsibility.
“We’re confident he’ll be a successful probation candidate,” Stevens said, adding that there are two sides to every story and when a guilty plea is entered, both sides aren’t heard but Zostant has “learned to take responsibility for what he did.”
Stevens said Zostant’s problems stem more from drug addiction than an issue with violence. Zostant declined to speak before the court.
On Valentine’s Day in 2020, Zostant told police a woman came into his place of work while she was intoxicated and started a fight. He said the woman hit him with a broom and was trying to hit him with her fists.
Zostant admitted to pushing her away from him. No injuries on Zostant are mentioned in court documents, but it is noted that the woman had a small bruise and swelling.
When the woman gave her account of the day, she said she and Zostant and got into a fight at the laundromat on Putney Road. She claims she hit her head when Zostant picked her up and then threw her down.
Court documents say that Zostant admitted to throwing the woman. An officer also took photos of bruising around her eye and on her knee.
Five days later, police were called back to Putney Road, to Black Mountain Inn, to respond to a fight between the couple. When the officer entered the room, he saw the woman surrounded by scattered belongings and a phone cord that looked like it was ripped out of the wall.
The woman said Zostant came into her room and started arguing with her while he was looking for his glasses. He then took her iPad and refused to give it back. She told police, “that is how he holds me hostage in the relationship.”
When she started to call the police, she said, Zostant ripped the phone out of the wall. She admitted to smacking Zostant before he left.
Zostant’s told police he came to the woman’s room to tell her about a place she could live. She then got upset over the location of the home and took his glasses. In response, he took her iPad. He then tripped over the phone cord, yanking it out of the wall.
Zostant claimed she hit him on the back of the head, but the officer was unable to see any injuries.
In October, Zostant was cited for domestic assault and violating conditions of release. The woman called police and said that Zostant had assaulted her. When officers arrived, they did not see Zostant in the area, but the woman said he was there a little after midnight. She claimed he got into her bed while she was sleeping and started to fight with her.
She said Zostant strangled her and hit her in the face, causing a tooth to become loose. When he hit her, she was thrown from the bed and she lost consciousness. She didn’t know if she lost consciousness from being hit or strangled.
Officers confirmed in the court documents that the woman had a loose tooth next to a missing tooth on her lower set of teeth. However, they did not see any bruising, swelling or blood.
The woman was staying in another man’s apartment when this happened. That man, when asked by the police, confirmed that Zostant was in the apartment overnight, but he could not confirm there was any physical altercation.