WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Two jailhouse recordings that appeared to catch a shooting suspect boasting about the incident and saying that Vermont towns were easy pickings for criminals may have dashed his hopes for pretrial release.
The suspect, a reputed gang member, also apparently said the shooting in broad daylight in downtown Springfield was meant to send a message that things could “get ugly” at any time.
Terrick Craft, 28, who has been charged with attempted murder for allegedly trying to gun down Nick Brown on July 9, appeared puzzled and exasperated as he sat behind the defense table in the Windsor County Courthouse on Monday afternoon and listened to the words being played back by Windsor County Deputy State’s Attorney David Cahill.
Craft had filed a motion asking Judge Robert Gerety to allow him to return home under curfew conditions to live with his wife and her children while he awaits trial. Craft has been held without bail since his arrest the day after the shooting, which Brown said he narrowly escaped by running into a nearby apartment amid a hail of bullets that were later found lodged in the door frame.
Craft’s jaw was broken in a scuffle with Brown on the street moments before numerous residents heard multiple gunshots. He has since maintained that he was actually the victim and not the shooter, although at least one eyewitness has claimed otherwise.
Since he is charged with a crime that carries a potential life sentence, Craft is not entitled to bail under Vermont law, and a judge would have to “exercise discretion” to let him out while he prepares his case.
On the tapes made of the phone calls from the jail after his arrest, a voice identified by Springfield Police Cpl. David Gilderdale as belonging to Craft can be heard excitedly telling a friend that a female corrections officer had made a comment to him asking why he didn’t move back to New Jersey, where Craft has a history of felony convictions and was previously identified as a member of the Bloods gang.
“I said, ‘Why would I leave Vermont when we are having so much fun bringing my (racial epithet) up here and chasing you all out of town?’” the voice identified as Craft’s says on the tape. It continus amid giggling, “The (racial epithet) are coming up, man, to this little town. We taking over ... we kicking people out ... they don’t even know.”
Craft then goes on to make what Cahill suggested was a reference to the shooting for which he was arrested. “This is just a sample, letting them know ‘It can happen!’ ... any time, any day, any place it can go down, therefore you ... need to watch it (and) hush like puppies.”
Cahill also pointed to another segment of the tape that appeared to be about the “message” behind the alleged attempt on Brown’s life. “My whole point (was) that it can get real ugly any time. It can be church. It can be your mother’s birthday ...” the tape continued.
Craft looked pensive while the tapes were playing, but the voice and menacing words had a visible effect on his family members, including several young teenagers who had dressed up and were seated along with his wife, sister and parents in the back row to show their support for Craft. His wife began to shake noticeably as the words played out, and his mother held her head and looked at the ceiling as the recordings continued.
Gerety said he will issue a written decision as to whether he will modify Craft’s hold-without-bail status “as soon as possible.”
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