Man Involved in Springfield, Vt., Shooting Misses Arraignment
White River Junction — Authorities have issued an arrest warrant for a New Jersey man for allegedly possessing heroin and cocaine at the time that he was shot in Springfield, Vt., in June.
Joseph Atkinson, of Union City, N.J., who will turn 20 on Thursday, did not appear at Windsor Superior Court on Tuesday for his scheduled arraignment on the drug charges. A judge approved Deputy Windsor County State’s Attorney David Cahill’s request to issue a warrant for Atkinson’s arrest and set bail at $10,000.
Cahill told the court that in a phone call in late June, Atkinson’s mother indicated that her son is still recovering from the gunshot wound in New Jersey and “collectively he and his mom didn’t understand why he needed to appear.”
Cahill said the state was sympathetic and “cognizant of (Atkinson’s) medical difficulties” but said that Atkinson should have filed a motion for a continuance — which could have postponed the court date — instead of failing to appear.
Cahill said it was unclear whether Atkinson, who pleaded guilty in April to selling cocaine, was still at the rehabilitation center or if he was living elsewhere. He told the court that Atkinson had few ties to Vermont “other than being here to deal drugs” and crashing at an apartment.
According to a police affidavit, state police discovered the drugs in Atkinson’s clothes after retrieving them from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center hospital staff, who had cut the clothes off Atkinson to treat a gunshot wound to his torso on June 11.
Police said the drugs in Atkinson’s clothes included 15 bags of heroin, totaling an estimated 0.4785 grams, and three rocks of cocaine, totaling 0.8 grams.
Authorities have alleged that Leon Jiggetts, 26, of Newark, N.J. — accompanied by Jabbar Chandler, 33, of Charlestown, N.H., and Brandon Adams-Smith, 16, of Chester, Vt. — shot Atkinson in a Summer Street apartment in a dispute over heroin.
Jiggetts and Chandler have both pleaded not guilty to felony charges related to the incident and are being held without bail at Southern State Correctional Facility.
Another teenager, Alex Jillson-Corbosiero, 18, of Springfield, is accused of taking Jillson-Corbosiero’s stepfather’s .45 caliber pistol that Jiggetts is accused of using to shoot Atkinson. Jillson-Corbosiero and Adams-Smith have pleaded not guilty to their charges and were released without bail as their cases are pending.
The June 11 shooting prompted a lockdown of several area buildings and a widespread manhunt. Atkinson was originally transported by ambulance to Springfield Hospital before he was airlifted to DHMC. He was transported to a rehabilitation center in New Jersey in late June.