Letter leads to another charge for shooting suspect
By ERIC FRANCIS
CORRESPONDENT | July 23,2014
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — A letter intercepted by a prison guard has led to another felony charge for one of the principal suspects in a recent Springfield shooting.
A copy of the three-page handwritten letter allegedly written by accused shooter Leon Jiggetts, 26, was included among court documents charging Jiggetts with a felony count of obstruction of justice, a charge that Jiggetts pleaded innocent to during a brief arraignment Tuesday. Authorities found the letter in the possession of another inmate June 16 at the Springfield jail.
Prison officials say Jiggetts, who is being held without bail pending his trial for attempted second-degree murder and other charges, had attempted to pass the letter to his co-defendant Jabbar Chandler while the pair were in separate cells in the Admissions Block of the Springfield jail less than a week after their arrests.
The words “Rip this up and flush after” are written along the top of the first page, which begins “What are we going to do???”
“The lawyer said the only way we are getting out of here with no jail time (is) if no one shows up to (the) trial,” the letter attributed to Jiggetts continues, adding pointedly, “We going to get threw (sic) this bruh... We still got goons on the outside.”
The author of the letter also notes that it was statements by the people who allegedly travelled with Jiggetts to the apartment on Summer Street where Joseph “Black” Atkinson, 19, was shot in the abdomen on June 11 who gave the most complete and compelling statements placing Jiggetts at the scene with a handgun and identifying him as the person who pulled the trigger.
“We just have to get (two other witnesses) back to our side,” Jiggetts allegedly wrote. “They have to tell the cops they were high or something.”
The letter also states, “I need all three (witnesses) to say the police grabbed the wrong person. That I was never there... I’m not the one that was with y’all. It was another black guy that was the shooter (and) he just kinda look like me. If the three of y’all do that this case will get very weak.”
As the letter goes on the letter writer appears to vacillate between hope and despair.
The letter winds up with a list of friends and phone numbers of a sister and a grandmother so that the person purported to be Jiggetts can stay in touch with Chandler because, he acknowledges that while inside the jail, “I know we will never be on the same floor together again,” before urging that relatives and other go-betweens “talk in code” and adding, “We are in this together and will make it out together.”
In the affidavit filed with the court, Vermont State Police Detective Sgt. Richard Holden wrote that a guard spotted an inmate returning from the showers in the Admissions Block pick up the letter, which was in an envelope from Jiggetts’ cell and immediately had him hand it over.
“Leon Jiggetts then asked (the guard) if he was going to get in trouble for the letter he wrote,” Holden said. Holden added that when police checked the list of phone numbers against emergency contact numbers in Jiggetts’ inmate case file, they found they matched the various relatives that were discussed in the letter.