Two dozen new charges filed against man accused in shooting incident
By Patrick McArdle
STAFF WRITER | May 03,2013
BENNINGTON — More charges have been filed against a Manchester man who is already facing more than 100 counts of violating his conditions of release from custody and a deputy state’s attorney said Monday that even more are on the way.
Donald J. Ely-Gardner, 27, of Manchester, made headlines at the beginning of the year when the Manchester Police Department said he reported he was the victim of a drive-by shooting Dec. 31, 2012.
But after an investigation, police determined that Ely-Gardner had shot himself which led to treatment at the Albany, N.Y., Medical Center.
Ely-Gardner was already facing legal troubles before the shooting. At the time, he had pending felony charges for violation of an abuse prevention order and he was expected to be arraigned on two felony counts of first-degree aggravated domestic assault and two felony charges of second-degree aggravated domestic assault within days of the shooting.
Instead he was arraigned on that charge in February and ordered held without bail. He was also charged with providing a false statement to police based on the shooting incident.
In March, Ely-Gardner was charged with 105 counts of violating the conditions of his release. Police said that they believed he had taken two cellphones from Hand Motors, where he worked in Manchester, and used them to make phone calls while at the Albany hospital.
A few of the calls were to his mother and the Manchester police department but police said they found that 105 calls were made to a woman with whom he was ordered not to have contact. Ely-Gardner’s felony charges of violation of an abuse prevention order involve that woman.
On Tuesday, Bennington County Deputy State’s Attorney Jennifer Barrett said the state had found he had made more phone calls to the woman. She said in addition to the 24 new misdemeanor charges of violation of conditions of release from custody, the state expected to file even more charges based on calls he made from the Rutland prison.
In an affidavit, Robert Kalinowski, an investigator with the Bennington County State’s Attorney’s Office, said he had listened to about 85 phone calls that Ely-Gardner had made from prison between Feb. 5 and 26. Many of them were to a woman who Ely-Gardner was allowed to call named Annabell but Kalinowski said he found that “Annabell” didn’t exist and Ely-Gardner was instead calling the woman who was named in the 105 charges filed in March.
According to the affidavit, the woman admitted to talking to Ely-Gardner. She said she chose the alias because she believed it was what she and Ely-Gardner would have named their daughter if they had one.
She also admitted that she had talked to Ely-Gardner about helping him get out of prison, Kalinowski said.
In addition to the arraignment on the 24 new charges, to which he pleaded innocent, Ely-Gardner was in court Tuesday to set the date for a trial on one of the pending set of charges. Ely-Gardner is now scheduled to be tried on May 23 for the domestic assault charges which involve allegations that he broke a woman’s ankle in June and her finger on Dec. 14.
The woman who Ely-Gardner is accused of assaulting is not the same woman who is named in the cases of violations of an abuse prevention order and violations of conditions of release.