Ascutney man fined for firing gun
By ERIC FRANCIS
CORRESPONDENT | May 20,2013
photo ERIC FRANCIS
Charles Johnson, 60, of Ascutney was fined $750 Thursday for firing shots into the floor of his home last November after he got into an argument with family members over who was going to cook dinner.
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — An Ascutney man was fined $750 for firing at least four gunshots into the living room floor of his home during an argument that took place in November with his wife and daughter about whether or not he was going to cook his own dinner.
Charles Johnson, 60, pleaded guilty to amended charges of disorderly conduct Thursday during a hearing at the criminal courthouse in White River Junction.
Windsor County State’s Attorney Michael Kainen explained to Judge Robert Gerety that after conducting depositions the state had decided to drop the original felony charges of first-degree aggravated domestic assault and amend the original reckless endangerment charges because the “victims” in the case did not actually feel threatened.
“Whether by accident or to add emphasis, a gun was fired into the floor,” Kainen explained to Gerety, but, he added, “While both wife and daughter said Mr. Johnson was tumultuous, swearing at them, and fired a gun in the house, the gun was not pointed at them and they never felt they were at risk of serious bodily injury or death.”
Kainen said the offenses that Saturday evening, which were committed while Johnson was “extremely intoxicated,” prompted a large law enforcement response to Gird Lot Road in Ascutney which in itself amounted to “a substantial public inconvenience,” which is a key element of Vermont’s disorderly conduct statute.
Gerety commended both Kainen and Johnson’s defense attorney, Bill Whitten, for “skillful lawyering” as he accepted the amended plea deal. After Johnson was successfully talked into surrendering peacefully to the contingent of troopers, police and wardens that were surrounding his house that November evening, officers learned that Johnson had originally snapped after his wife had asked him if he wanted supper and he said “he would get his own (expletive) supper” and the confrontation escalated from there, police said.