A decision is pending over whether a Pittsford man, accused of hitting and killing Melanie Rooney, 31, of Proctor, on May 18, will be released to home confinement while a charge of involuntary manslaughter is pending.
Anthony J. Reynolds, 48, was arraigned in May in Rutland criminal court on additional felony counts of first-degree aggravated domestic assault, second-degree aggravated domestic assault, grossly negligent driving with death resulting and leaving the scene of a crash that resulted in a death.
Reynolds pleaded not guilty to all five charges.
Police said Reynolds and Rooney had gone out on a date on May 18. They went into Rutland where police said they had been drinking alcohol.
However, police said they also learned Reynolds and Rooney, who were in a relationship, had been arguing.
Police said Reynolds left Rooney’s home in a hurry and hit Rooney with his truck.
He told police he wasn’t aware he hit Rooney until he found her body when he went back to her home to retrieve his cell phone. Reynolds told police he “panicked and left the area.”
Attorney Dan Stevens, who represents Reynolds, asked Judge Thomas Zonay to release Reynolds to home confinement as he awaits trial. Reynolds is being held on $50,000 bail.
If Zonay approves the request, Anthony Reynolds would be released to live with his father in northern Vermont.
Stevens said Reynolds’ father and a global-position monitoring device provided by the Vermont Department of Corrections would ensure that law-enforcement officials would know where Reynolds was located.
“With respect to public safety, we don’t think that’s an issue. If Tony had the $50,000 (to post as bail) public safety wouldn’t be an issue and there would actually be less monitoring than a home detention program,” Stevens said.
Rutland County State’s Attorney Rose Kennedy said the state objected to releasing Reynolds.
Kennedy said she didn’t believe a site approved for home confinement was sufficiently vetted by the Department of Corrections.
According to Kennedy, Reynolds has been accused nine times of failing to appear for court proceedings.
“We are looking at … an incredibly serious offense including (Reynolds) allegedly looking at the person he was in a relationship with bloody, on the ground, outside in the driveway and driving away and not calling for any emergency personnel,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said the state also had concerns because Reynolds’ father’s home is close to the Canadian border.
“The risk that he leaves and we can’t find him is great,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said the state was concerned that Reynolds could be released without posting bail because she thought a person who had put up monetary collateral was less likely to flee.
Zonay said he understood the “attractive argument” of the importance of bail but said the Legislature had created a home confinement statute that allowed a judge to agree to requests like the one Reynolds was making.
Reynolds did not speak during the hearing.
After listening to arguments from Stevens and Kennedy, Zonay said he would issue a written decision.
Both the manslaughter charge and the charge of leaving the scene of a fatal crash carry mandatory minimum sentences of one year in jail. If convicted of all the charges, Reynolds could be sentenced to almost 70 years in prison.