A local man who was involved in the murder of a Winhall house painter and ski instructor in 2006 has been reported missing by the Vermont Department of Corrections.
Christopher J. Kosmalski, 40, of Rutland, pleaded guilty in 2008 in Bennington Criminal Court to second-degree unlawful restraint, two charges of grand larceny and one charge of being an accessory to a felony after the fact.
He was sentenced to serve 13 to 32 years in prison.
The Rutland City Police Department did not provide details about why they are seeking Kosmalki but an allegation of escape from the supervision of the Department of Corrections generally means someone has been released on furlough and failed to appear at a scheduled appointment.
Kosmalski changed his plea and was sentenced on the same day as Joshua J. Gould, 40, also of Rutland, who was sentenced to serve a minimum of 28½ years and a maximum of life in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder.
Kosmalski and Wieser were co-workers for a small Winhall house-painting company. On March 9, 2006, the two left work together and went to Rutland where Kosmalski introduced Gould and Renator Wieser, 24, of Winhall.
The three men went to Wieser’s home where they drank liquor and used cocaine. Gould and Wieser argued and Gould attacked Wieser and knocked him unconscious. Gould tied Wieser to a chair in Wieser’s room using neckties and electrical cord.
Gould and Kosmalski searched downstairs in the Wieser home for items to steal. Before they left, Gould went back upstairs to stab Wieser.
“You don’t want to see this,” Gould said to Kosmalski, according to a police affidavit.
The two were arrested in Florida, where they had robbed the manager of a fast-food restaurant at knife point.
Kosmalski and Gould had fled to Florida in a car they stole from the Wieser home. They were found and arrested less than a week after Wieser’s death.
Before he was sentenced in 2008, Kosmalski spoke to Judge John Wesley and Wieser’s family.
“I’d just like you to know that I’m not the monster that people portray me to be. People don’t understand circumstances until they’re there and they have the experience first-hand. I understand that hindsight is almost always 20/20. God knows, if I could turn back time, none of us would be here listening to me speak today. I hope the victim’s family and the court can hear the sincerity in my voice when I say I’m sorry,” he said.
Kosmalski had been charged with first-degree murder after he was initially arrested, but Bennington County State’s Attorney Erica Marthage dismissed the charge and told the court it was because Gould and not Kosmalski who stabbed Wieser.
But Wesley said he struggled with accepting Kosmalki’s sentence because it meant he might be released from prison in a relatively short period of time as compared to Gould.
“Are you a monster, Mr. Kosmalski? Well, you do understand that there are those in this room who will find it very hard to reach any other conclusion, possibly ever. You finally found yourself running down the East Coast, fleeing from this horrific murder that sounds like something out of a bad horror movie. It wasn’t a movie, Mr. Kosmalski. It was the end of a human being’s life and the wreckage of yours and Mr. Gould’s,” Wesley said.
According to the Vermont Department of Corrections inmate locator, Kosmalski’s minimum release date was in May. Gould’s minimum release date is November 2034.
The RCPD has asked that anyone who has information about Kosmalski’s location, call the Street Crimes Unit at 773-1820.