Harrison Avenue scene - untimely death

Rutland City Police on scene at 82 Harrison Ave. in Rutland City on Friday morning.

The Rutland City Police Department is investigating the “suspicious” death of a local man whose body was found in his Harrison Avenue home on Thursday.

No cause of death for 59-year-old Joseph M. Johnson, of 82 Harrison Ave., was given in a statement released Friday by Cmdr. David Lachance of the Rutland City Police Department.

Police said there were no indications as of Friday morning of a danger to the public.

At around 10 a.m. Thursday, a staff member from the Vermont Department of Corrections called Rutland City Police to say there had been a visit to 82 Harrison Ave. to check on the welfare of a probationer. DOC staff saw a body lying on the floor inside the home, prompting the call to police.

Officers were dispatched to the home, where they confirmed the man on the floor, later identified as Johnson, was dead, police said.

Detectives from the Rutland City Bureau of Criminal Investigations and an assistant medical examiner from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner were sent to the home, where they were briefed by DOC personnel and patrol officers.

Based on evidence at the home, police determined the death was suspicious.

Police secured the scene in order to collect evidence. Police worked through Thursday, conducting interviews and collecting possible evidence, Lachance said in the statement.

The Vermont State Police Crime Scene Search Team assisted Rutland police by collecting and processing evidence at the home, starting around 6 p.m. Thursday.

The home remained secured as of Friday morning with a Rutland City Police officer on scene overnight, according to the statement.

Lachance said police expected to release more information later on Friday.

Johnson was on probation after being convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct in 2016. He was arraigned in November 2012 in Rutland criminal court on a felony charge of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child.

A 10-year-old girl accused Johnson in November 2012 of touching her inappropriately during a visit to his home. Johnson lived in Brandon at the time.

Johnson pleaded guilty in October 2016 under a plea agreement that amended the charge from lewd and lascivious conduct with a child to lewd and lascivious conduct.

After the Vermont Department of Corrections completed a pre-sentence investigation of Johnson, he was sentenced in February 2017 to serve one to four years but all of the jail time was suspended and he was placed on probation instead.

In February, Johnson admitted to violating his probation.

patrick.mcardle

@rutlandherald.com

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