ERIC FRANCIS PHOTO
Brian Aubuchon, 36, of Hartland struck a plea deal on Thursday morning in connection with a 2011 robbery spree that included grabbing cash from registers in Brattleboro and Berlin and holding up the Mascoma Bank branch in Hartland.
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — The Hartland man who robbed a bank in 2011 next door to the apartment where he’d been living was in court for a jury drawing Thursday morning when, at the eleventh hour, he agreed to strike a plea deal with the state.
Brian Aubuchon, 36, ended up getting an unusually wide-ranging sentence of two to 30 years in connection with the robbery of the Mascoma Bank branch and two larcenies in which he grabbed the contents of the cash registers at the Shell Station in Brattleboro and the Maplewood Convenience Store in Berlin on the same day. Topping it off, Aubuchon had just walked away from furlough a couple of weeks before his May 2011 crime spree began so he was also convicted of escape under the terms of the resolution reached Thursday, leaving Aubuchon with four new felony convictions and the status of a habitual offender if he ever finds himself back before a judge.
Aubuchon is currently serving time for another robbery in Braintree that took place during the same time frame as the other crimes and that, coupled with the fact that his remaining charges took place in three different counties, contributed to drawing out his day in court. Aubuchon had rejected a very similar offer just two weeks ago, but the realization that he would almost certainly face a much longer minimum jail sentence apparently led to Thursday’s sudden conclusion.
Thursday’s sentencing was also unusual because Aubuchon’s defense attorney, William Cobb, stood by his client’s side and gave a lengthy character recommendation on Aubuchon’s behalf to Judge Robert Gerety, describing Aubuchon as someone who had made sincere efforts to change himself for the better in the wake of his most recent incarceration and the birth of a daughter who is now 2 years old.
Cobb described Aubuchon as someone who had grown up being abused and finally kicked out of his home by a stepfather at the age of 13, and who had struggled simply to survive and had gone down some bad paths while doing so.
Windsor County State’s Attorney Robert Sand echoed Cobb’s assessment, saying that Aubuchon’s letters to him were “thoughtful and articulate” and that Aubuchon appeared to be taking steps to try and get his life on track even while behind bars. He also said the unusually short minimum sentence was a carrot for good behavior in order to avoid “extinguishing all hope” but he said it was now up to Aubuchon to convince the Department of Corrections that he would make a good candidate for furlough in the future despite his rather spectacular failure the last time around.
Addressing Aubuchon directly from the bench, Gerety began by saying, “There are serious crimes and the kind of thing we just cannot tolerate in our civil society. The story of your life is interesting, and perhaps it does explain to some extent some portions of your conduct, but you are an adult now and ultimately you are responsible for your conduct. You do seem like an articulate fellow just from the time I’ve spent with you in court and I think you’ve got a lot of intelligence and I think you’ve got a lot of abilities and I’m hopeful that you will come to see that ... and find a way to make your way in the world without engaging in this kind of conduct.”
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