BRATTLEBORO — Dakota “Cody” Greene of Brattleboro can be released on bail and conditions, a Windham Superior Court judge ruled Friday, rejecting a prosecutor’s argument to hold him in jail.
Greene, 21, is facing 10 counts, stemming from a series of incidents in Brattleboro on May 26, when after several disputes with a friend and her friends, he fired off his handgun into the air about 10 times as he was driving off near Elliot and Union streets, after the second incident with the teenagers.
Judge Michael Kainen, in a five-page ruling, admitted that it was a difficult decision, given that the evidence against Greene was substantial and strong. Evidence presented last week in court included several videos of the encounter the victim had with Greene, including police body cameras.
The judge noted Greene had no criminal record before the incidents, which started outside the Marina Restaurant, and later moved to Birge Street, and finally the shooting incident at Union and Elliot streets. Kainen, in his decision, said that the criminal justice system really means that until convicted, people should not be held in jail.
“This case is a close call, and I struggled with the decision. No judge wants to be the one who had the chance to keep someone behind bars only to let him go and have him hurt or kill someone. In this country, one is innocent until proven guilty, and we try not to hold people in jail before they are convicted,” he wrote.
“Mr. Greene has no prior record. He has good supports in his mother and Mr. (Zach) Zumbruski. He is a hard worker,” he said, noting that the law allows for home confinement, which provides an alternative to hold without bail.
“All of this persuades the court that it should move onto a (legal) analysis and exercise discretion,” Kainen wrote, while noting that he would entertain a motion for home confinement for Greene.
Zumbruski said that Greene, who has been his best friend since the fifth grade, was welcome to live with him and his mother at their Brattleboro home.
Greene’s attorney, Albert Fox of Brattleboro, said Friday he had no comment on the ruling, but said he was preparing a motion that seeks home confinement for Greene.
Greene has been living in Brattleboro with his friend and his friend’s mother since he moved back to Vermont from Georgia, where his mother had moved about six years ago. His mother testified last week that her son’s mental health had deteriorated after a couple of his friends died. She said she was trying to line up counseling for him. His older brothers also had returned to the area and live in Greenfield, Mass., she told the judge.
For Windham County Deputy State’s Attorney Dana Nevins, he said he believes the state had a strong case to keep Green held without bail.
“The state believes there is a very strong basis for him to be held without bail, because of the risk he poses to the victim and the community. As bail is only for addressing risk of flight, and not to reduce the risk to the community, the state did not request bail and does not believe there is a good basis for bail to be imposed in this case,” Nevins wrote in an email Friday.
Greene had pressed his handgun into the stomach of a female friend, 17, outside the Marina when they were fighting over whether she had been drinking. Greene worked at the Marina.
The girl received a lasting mark (documented by the Brattleboro Police) on her stomach from the handgun.
While the judge set bail at $40,000, there were many conditions, including that Green stay away from his victim and her friends, and their homes, their cars and place of employment.
The judge also ordered Greene, if released, to follow a curfew, and only be outside the home from 9 a.m. until noon, and also be in the physical presence of Zumbruski and his mother, Kate Theriault.