WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — A Rockingham man pleaded not guilty Thursday to a knife attack on a neighbor who had picked him up hitchhiking Wednesday afternoon on Route 5.
Christopher Vanacore, 40, was ordered held without bail by Windsor Superior Court Judge Heather Gray.
Vanacore allegedly attacked a 52-year-old Rockingham man as Vanacore was getting out of the man’s car after the two men — who live in the same trailer park but didn’t know each other’s names — got into an argument.
The man was badly cut in both cheeks and the mouth and suffered a broken nose in the attack. He was taken to Springfield Hospital where he was treated and released.
The victim said he recognized Vanacore from the trailer park and stopped to offer him a ride into Bellows Falls. They argued over a statement the neighbor had earlier made to Vanacore’s girlfriend, saying she shouldn’t be driving her vehicle without a registration plate, according to court records.
After he was stabbed, the victim was able to drive himself to the Bellows Falls police station, who in turn alerted the Vermont State Police since the attack took place in Rockingham.
Vanacore was arrested by Bellows Falls village police shortly after the attack, after the man’s wife, who was following the ambulance to Springfield, saw Vanacore walking along the road a short distance from where the attack took place, in a pull-off near the Joy Wah Restaurant, and called police. Vanacore denied being involved in any stabbing.
The wife told police that Vanacore had a very distinctive beard, with it braided in front, and she recognized him from her husband’s description. Both of them later identified him in a police line up.
He is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated assault. Both charges carry a potential 15-year jail sentence. Vermont State Police originally cited Vanacore with a count of “maiming.”
The victim told police he really didn’t remember much about the attack, but he said it did involve a knife and maybe brass knuckles. Police found a silver folding knife on Vanacore’s person when he was arrested, court records stated, and footprints in dirt matched the tread on Vanacore’s sneakers.
Vanacore was arraigned in White River Junction rather than Brattleboro because of the courts’ arraignment schedule.