Men deny knife attack, robbery of teenager
By Susan Smallheer
Staff Writer | February 05,2013
BRATTLEBORO — Two men answered to charges Monday of stabbing a 16-year-old Brattleboro teen in the neck with a kitchen knife as they tried to rob him after he walked home Friday night from the Boys and Girls Club.
Charles Trowell, 40, of Jersey City, N.J., and Anthony Gonzalez, 32, of Brattleboro, faced multiple charges for the assault and robbery. Their alleged victim, identified in court papers only by his initials, was treated and released from Brattleboro Memorial Hospital after the Friday night attack. Trowell, who was staying with friends in Brattleboro, was ordered held without bail by Judge David Suntag. Trowell has a lengthy criminal record, most of it in New Jersey, and has spent most of the last 20 years in and out of prison, said Windham County Deputy State’s Attorney David Gartenstein.
Trowell pleaded innocent to charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, assault and robbery with a weapon, aggravated assault with a weapon and simple assault with a weapon.
Gonzalez pleaded innocent to charges of assault and robbery, aggravated assault with a weapon and simple assault by menace. He was ordered held for lack of $25,000 bail.
Trowell told Brattleboro police they didn’t know the teenager, and Trowell told police that he was drunk at the time and didn’t know why he did it. The teenager told police the two men stole about $15 from him.
The teen said he was walking up Elm Street when he was approached by two men, and that one man grabbed him by the front of his shirt and asked him how much money he had.
The teenager said he recognized Gonzalez from “previous encounters,” and knew him as “Solo.”
Gonzalez grabbed the teenager and told him “You don’t know me,” the teenager said.
The two men then pulled the teenager behind a snowbank off Elm Street, took out a knife and threatened him by holding it against his throat, according to the teenager.
The teenager said the man he didn’t know said, “I’m going to end this now,” and attempted to stab him in the upper torso.
The teenager said the man was holding the knife “like a butcher.” He said he pushed the man away, and that was when his neck was cut.
The teenager said he ran away, and lost his shoe and sweatshirt containing his cellphone and wallet and ran back to the Boys and Girls Club. He got a ride to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital’s emergency room from two motorists.
Police said the teenager was crying and breathing fast when they interviewed him. “He further stated that he was happy he lived,” police said.
Police went to the home of Gonzalez on Clark Street first, and Gonzalez identified the other man by his street name, “Lox.”
Gonzalez was arrested, and police went to an apartment on Thomas Street, where “Lox” was staying. Police said that Trowell was hiding in the shower and eventually came out and told them “I didn’t mean to do it, I was drunk.”
He told police he thought he was using the knife just to scare the teenager, and he thought the blade was pointed out.
“Trowell said that a group of them were just trying to have fun,” police said, who described Trowell as crying and upset.
Trowell said he was in Brattleboro to visit his son.
In court Monday, the judge refused to release either man, agreeing with the state that there were no conditions to protect the public in Trowell’s case.
Gonzalez, who lives in Brattleboro with his partner and their three children, is on disability, according to his court-appointed attorney, Christopher Montgomery.
Montgomery initially said Gonzalez had lived in Brattleboro for four years, but after conferring with Gonzalez, he said he had lived in New England for four years, and Vermont for two years. Gonzalez takes care of his children while his partner is at work, Montgomery said, suggesting a home curfew would keep Gonzalez off the streets.
Suntag refused to release either him.
It wasn’t clear if Gonzalez and Trowell knew each other, although at one point during the proceedings Gonzalez said he had a cousin named Trowell.