NEWPORT CITY - William Swett, 59, of Brownington, VT, pleaded not guilty Sept. 13 to eleven charges that include one count of felony aggregated first degree domestic assault, four misdemeanor counts of violation of an abuse prevention order, three felony charges of attempted obstruction of justice, and three misdemeanor charges of violating conditions of release.
Senior Trooper Andrew Jensen of the Vermont State Police wrote in an affidavit that, on May 24, the victim went to the Derby Barracks to speak about her husband, identified in court records as Swett. The victim told police that Swett had been getting increasingly violent to the point she had obtained a final relief of abuse order issued against him. At the time, the victim did not wish for police to arrest Swett as he was getting help through the Veteran’s Hospital. Rather, she simply wished for advice on how to proceed.
The victim told police that Swett became suddenly very angry and violent during a conversation and began to call her names. The victim said Swett broke glass all over the floor, threw things at her and struck her several times. She said Swett told her that he should have hit her on the head with a sledgehammer because she was stupid.
The victim said Swett urged her to kill herself with a knife and a gun, saying, “You are going to be dead anyway, so just do it now.” The victim said Swett told her, “You can do this the easy way or the hard way. Do it yourself so I don’t have to. Make my life easy. You asked for it.”
The victim attempted to escape the house but Swett stopped her, she told police. He grabbed her arms and prevented her from leaving. He then placed both hands around her neck and began to choke her. She said she allowed herself to be taken back into the house to try and stop him from choking her.
The victim said Swett let go of her and she ran into the bedroom and locked the door, but let him in after he started to bang on and splinter the door. Swett entered the room and kept grabbing her around the neck with her sweatshirt in his hands, saying nobody would believe he strangled her because he didn't leave any bruises.
Later, police spoke to friends of the victim who verified that the victim had been living in fear. They said they had come to the home shortly after the initial incident and had observed marks on the victim's throat and arms, and that they often called there to make sure she was alright.
The victim said that, after she had received a restraining order against Swett, he continued to call her, harass her, threaten her, and even sent her flowers.
On May 24, 2011, the victim received flowers with a card signed “the Logger,” a nickname Swett uses. Police obtained a subpoena and were able to determine that Swett had sent the flowers.
On June 13, 2011, the victim reported to police that Swett contacted her 10 times. Swett wanted the victim to call him on his cell phone, but she refused. She told Swett that he shouldn’t have called her and he got angry and said everything was her fault and she had ruined his life and had taken away his future. Swett begged the victim to fix it, but she said she couldn’t. The victim said Swett went from being angry to calm. The victim said she hung up and called police, but Swett called her seven more times.
The victim told police she thought Swett hated her and wished her dead, since he had told her that in the past. She said Swett had threatened her with a knife and a gun and had begged her to kill herself for his sake.
On June 29, 2011, the victim again reported that Swett had called her at her home. Swett reportedly told the victim he needed to talk to her, that he loved her and didn’t want a divorce. Swett told her he was somewhere in Chittenden County. The victim told Swett that they would be divorced, that she could never be near him or ever live with him and would always be afraid of him. Swett allegedly said he was getting better before he shoved her and that he is even better than that. Swett told the victim she is the one who can fix everything and, if she would just talk to him, everything would be better. Swett told the victim that he was out of time and the call disconnected. The victim told police she was scared that Swett would just show up.
Judge Robert Bent set bail on the defendant at $15,000 as well as a series of conditions that included not contacting, harassing or being near the victim. Swett was also required to post a current physical address with the court before he could be released on bail.