Man held after being charged with eight felonies
Man charged with eight felonies
BENNINGTON — A Rupert man is facing eight felony charges, all of them punishable by life in prison after police said he assaulted a woman in two different towns Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.
Mark T. Johnson, 31, of Rupert, was arraigned in Bennington criminal court on Monday on four felony counts of first-degree aggravated domestic assault, two felony counts of second-degree unlawful restraint and one felony count each of kidnapping and first-degree unlawful restraint risking injury.
Johnson was also arraigned for one misdemeanor count each of domestic assault, simple assault and interference with access to emergency services.
The charges were modified because Johnson was a charged as a habitual offender, a sentencing enhancement available when a defendant has previously been convicted of three or more felonies. A person convicted as a habitual offender can be sentenced to up to life in prison.
According to affidavits filed by Vermont State Police troopers, a woman who knew Johnson reported Feb. 2 that he had assaulted her Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. She said he had punched her in the back of the head Jan. 31 at his home in Rupert.
The woman told police that Johnson hits her in the back of the head so that no one would see any bruises he leaves.
She said Feb. 1 Johnson hit her and dragged her by the hair, pulling some of her hair out, in a public park in Manchester. During the incident she said, Johnson also kept her from leaving a vehicle and took her phone so she couldn’t call police.
Another man who was present Feb. 1 said Johnson hit him in the eye when he tried to prevent Johnson from hitting the woman.
Police said Johnson denied any physical altercation.
Johnson, who pleaded innocent, was ordered held without bail on Monday.