A judge on Tuesday accepted a plea agreement that will send a Fair Haven man to jail for at least 2½ years for assaulting a woman and her two children. The judge rejected another plea agreement in May because the proposed sentence wasn’t long enough.
Thomas R. Luzader, 31, was arraigned in March in Rutland criminal court on two felony counts of first-degree aggravated domestic assault and a felony count of second-degree unlawful restraint, as well as four misdemeanor counts of domestic assault and a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest.
Under the plea agreement, one felony count of first-degree aggravated domestic assault, the felony count of unlawful restraint, two misdemeanor counts of domestic assault and the misdemeanor count of resisting arrest were dismissed by the state.
For the other charge of first-degree aggravated domestic assault, Luzader was sentenced to serve 2½ to 9 years. For the other two charges of domestic assault, Luzader was sentenced to 12 to 18 months, which will be served at the same time as the first sentence.
The charges against Luzader were based on an affidavit written by Detective Shaun Hewitt, of Fair Haven Police Department. Hewitt said he became involved in the case after a family fight was reported on Prospect Street in Fair Haven around 4:45 p.m. Feb. 28.
Hewitt said when he got to the home, Luzader was already in handcuffs.
He said he spoke with a 37-year-old woman and her two sons, 16 and 17 as well. All three said Luzader had assaulted them.
The woman said Luzader had been drinking before the assaults. She said the conflict had escalated after he asked to hug her and she refused.
According to the woman, Luzader choked her until “her adrenaline kicked in,” and she fought him off.
The woman said her sons arrived soon afterward and tried to stop Luzader, but he began hitting them.
During the assault, police arrived, the woman said. In a separate affidavit, Sean Galvin, a constable for Fair Haven, said he arrived at the home before other members of the Fair Haven Police Department.
Galvin said he was able to handcuff Luzader, although he said Luzader disobeyed commands.
According to Galvin’s affidavit, Luzader said, “If you want me to come down, you’re gonna have to earn it.”
On Tuesday, Judge Thomas Zonay said he had rejected the original plea agreement, which proposed a sentence of 1 to 5 years, after hearing from the victim and reviewing a pre-sentence investigation prepared by the Vermont Department of Corrections.
“The court indicated, on the information it was provided at that time, it could not find the sentence of 1 to 5 years to serve was appropriate,” Zonay said.
Rutland County Deputy State’s Attorney Travis Weaver said the victims were not in court on Tuesday but had been invited.
“They are on board, they would just prefer not to think about it as much as possible,” he said.
Weaver said the state believed a longer maximum sentence, which would keep Luzader under supervision, was more important for the family.
Attorney Christopher Davis, who represented Luzader, called the proposed sentence “arguably a significant departure” from the previous proposed sentence.
Davis said Luzader had taken responsibility for the incident from early on but said Luzader doesn’t remember what happened. He said he believed Luzader’s use of substances caused the incident.
“This is a situation where, going forward, certainly my hope is, and I think Mr. Luzader’s expectation is, he will avoid sort of the backslide into behaviors that it is clear can lead to really significant outcomes,” he said.
Given a chance to speak to the court before being sentenced, Luzader declined.