Gunman sentenced for southern Vermont robberies

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BURLINGTON — An ex-Vermonter, whose multi-state armed robbery spree ended in Brattleboro in 2018 when police shot him multiple times, was sentenced Tuesday to just over six years in federal prison for using a gun for three holdups at convenience stores, including two in southern Vermont.

Mark Triolo, 47, received the 75-month sentence in U.S. District Court in Burlington for robbing the Small City Market in Vergennes on May 1, 2018 and for holdups at both the Ascutney Sunoco Station in Weathersfield and Allen Brothers Farm Stand in Westminster on May 4, 2018.

The sentence by Judge Christina Reiss was substantially less than the 12 years in prison sought by Assistant U.S. Attorney Wendy Fuller. She wanted the judge to consider the reckless endangerment by Triolo during his flight from police.

Fuller noted that by Triolo's failure to surrender peacefully when cornered twice in Brattleboro, police eventually had to open fire when he failed to heed their command and instead put his hands behind his back. Triolo sustained two gunshot wounds to the chest and one to his leg.

One police bullet also pierced a nearby living room window on Black Mountain Road and lodged in a stereo near where a couple was about to sit to watch a movie, Fuller said. She reminded the judge stray bullets can cause substantial damage — an apparent reference to her father, St. Michael's College Professor John Reiss, who was killed at his dining room table in Essex from a stray bullet at a nearby shooting range in September 2008.     

Assistant Federal Defender David McColgin had argued for 40 months for Triolo, partly because of some medical issues, including some stemming from the police shooting. McColgin said his client has medical issues and there is some question whether he will ever get out of prison alive.

For each robbery Triolo faced a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

Triolo apologized to the court and others for his behavior. "I've had to come to terms with the big man upstairs," he told the judge. "I am deeply sorry for my actions."

U.S. deputy marshals rolled the bald-headed Triolo in a wheelchair into the courtroom. Triolo sustained two gunshot wounds to the chest and one to his leg when police caught him, McColgin said in court papers. McColgin also said Triolo was recently diagnosed recently with stage 4 liver fibrosis and cirrhosis.

Fuller said that was news to her. She said she also had no idea what those medical claims would mean in the long-term.

Judge Reiss ordered Triolo to make about $7,000 in restitution between the three stores and to pay $300 in mandatory court costs. She also told Triolo that he would be on supervised release for three years once freed from prison.

But his legal problems are far from over. He is facing charges in Texas, Kansas and New York.

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Court papers show Triolo was sentenced to 25 years in prison in September 1999 following five armed robberies in Texas and eventually he was paroled Nov. 30, 2016 after serving 17 years. After about 17 months he cut off his GPS ankle bracelet in Texas and is wanted for a parole violation, officials said.

Triolo fled to Kansas, where he is wanted for robbing a bank of $3,750 on April 26, 2018, Fuller said.

Four days later he brandished a gun to rob $542 from the Speedway Store on Aviation Road in Queensbury, N.Y. and a warrant has been issued for him.

He then hit Vergennes on May 1 and the two southern Vermont stores three days later.

"Those clerks must have been terrified," Fuller said.

Triolo, in a letter to the court, said he spent the first eight years on Cape Cod before his parents bought 10 acres on Snake Mountain outside of Middlebury. He spent winters at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl and summers at camps in New England.

He said it was his wish after fleeing Texas to return to Vermont and see his childhood home in Addison County.

Vermont State Police Detective Sgt. Tyson Kinney testified during the sentencing, focusing on the reckless nature of Triolo as both Brattleboro and state police began to close in on him. He noted it was about 8:45 p.m. and it was dark along a tree line behind a residential area.

McColgin questioned Kinney about Brattleboro Police not using any body cameras or audio while closing in on Toiolo. He also questioned why the statements from the officers appeared identical about his client putting his hands behind his back before they opened fire.

"This looks concocted," McColgin said.

He also asked Kinney about the body cameras worn by state police. The veteran detective noted that road troopers are not provided body cameras.

Reiss said later that she did not believe police concocted anything. She found it reasonable that Triolo put his hands behind his back.

Windham County State's Attorney Tracy Shriver and Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan ruled they would not file any charges against the four officers involved in the shooting. Three were with Brattleboro Police: Sgt. Steven "Chase" Stanley, and officers Sean Wilson and Michael Cable. The other officer was Vermont State Police Trooper Jason Lengfellner.


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