Man held on kidnapping charges
By Brent Curtis
STAFF WRITER | April 24,2009
A Mount Holly man could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted on charges for allegedly duct-taping a woman and threatening to drown her and bury alive a 14-year-old girl during an incident on Alpine Drive Tuesday.
Donald L. Gates, 40, pleaded innocent in Rutland District Court on Thursday to felony charges of kidnapping with bodily injury or fear and aggravated first-degree domestic assault with a weapon.
Gates, who said he works as a technician, was able to post $10,000 bail set after his arrest Wednesday night. However, he was unable to post bail set during his arraignment. He was lodged at the Rutland jail Thursday evening.
State Police responded to Gates' home at 566 Alpine Drive at 9:18 p.m. Tuesday night after dispatchers received a 911 call from a 14-year-old girl in the house who said Gates was duct-taping a woman to a chair and threatening to kill both of them, according to a police affidavit filed in the case.
Police said by the time they arrived, Gates had left in a silver pickup and the teenager who called police had fled to a neighbor's house for safety.
Trooper Jimmy Wilborn said police also found another girl in a back bedroom. The girls and the woman initially all told police they were "fine and the police were not needed."
But during interviews and inspections of the house, Wilborn said police found evidence that the woman had been taped to a chair, threatened with a knife and told she would die that night.
In separate interviews with Wilborn and two other troopers, Wilborn wrote that the woman told police she and her husband began arguing Tuesday night after she "embarrassed (Gates) in front of mutual friends earlier in the evening."
The argument escalated to violence and threats of violence, Wilborn said, when Gates dragged her outside onto the deck before forcing her into a chair where her wrists, arms and chest were taped to the chair.
However, the woman told police she did not want to press charges or obtain a restraining order against Gates.
One of the girls, for whom police did not provide an age, told the troopers that she used scissors to cut the woman free because she didn't know how to use a knife.
The 14-year-old girl told police Gates held a knife to the woman's throat during the fight and Gates threatened to bury the girl alive, telling her at one point that "she was next," according to the affidavit.
Police met with Gates later at a construction site.
During interviews with Gates, he denied hitting the woman, whose lips were bruised, and he showed police his hands, which Wilborn said were free of marks or blood.
Wilborn said Gates told him he did duct tape the woman, but he did so because "she was coming at him and grabbing him."
Gates agreed to sleep in his truck Tuesday night and Wilborn said he remained parked outside his house for most of the night to ensure that he did not return.
Gates was arrested Wednesday evening when police returned to the residence.
Judge Thomas Zonay set bail for Gates at $100,000 with a special provision that he could post bail by paying only 10 percent of that amount. The judge also set strict conditions of release, including a 24-hour curfew, a requirement that he stay at his parents' home and that he stay at least one mile away from the woman and the girls, his Alpine Drive Home, the schools the two girls attend and the woman's place of work while she's there.