Sawyer remains held after bail lowered to $10,000

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RUTLAND — A Rutland judge lowered bail Wednesday to $10,000 for an 18-year-old Poultney man accused by police of planning to shoot up his former high school in Fair Haven.

If released, Jack Sawyer plans to go to the Brattleboro Retreat, or another similar facility, to receive inpatient psychiatric care, Kelly Green, a public defender representing him, said in court Wednesday.

Judge Thomas Zonay also imposed during a hearing Wednesday morning strict conditions of release for Sawyer, including that he be released into the custody of his father, David Sawyer of Poultney.

Sawyer was initially ordered held without bail following his arrest in mid-February on attempted murder charges. However, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that merely planning to commit to an offense failed to meet the standard for an attempt crime under Vermont case law, meaning Sawyer could no longer be held without bail.

At a hearing last week, Zonay set bail at $100,000 in the case. However, since then, prosecutors have dropped the felony charges against Sawyer, citing the Supreme Court ruling as making continued prosecution on those charges "untenable."

That led to the hearing Wednesday morning. Sawyer still faces two misdemeanor offenses, criminal threatening and carrying a dangerous weapon with the avowed purpose to commit serious injury or death.

Together, those misdemeanor offenses carrying up to three years in jail.

Sawyer was arrested on Feb. 15. Authorities said he had plans to cause "mass casualties" at Fair Haven Union High School. They cited his purchase of a shotgun and ammunition in Rutland in the days leading up to his arrest showed his intentions to carrying out the shooting.

His attorneys have contended that the case was overcharged from the outset and that it should have been handled as a mental health matter.

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