Family Feud Lands Father in Court
William Guyer rubs his eyes as he speaks to his cousin Brenda Rodewald, at left, about the logistics of returning home after being released following his arraignment at Orange Superior Court in Chelsea on Monday. Guyer allegedly shot a gun during a dispute with his son at his home in Strafford on Friday. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »
William Guyer of Strafford leaves the Orange County Courthouse in Chelsea, after being released for alledgedly shooting at his son. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »
Chelsea — A Strafford man pleaded not guilty to charges of assault with a weapon on Monday after he and his son got into a family argument that led to shots being fired inside his home and at a moving vehicle.
William Guyer, 58, is charged with aggravated domestic assault with a weapon, a felony, and two misdemeanor charges of reckless endangerment. If found guilty, the three charges combined could result in a 17-year maximum sentence.
On Friday around 10 p.m., Guyer was working on his daughter’s car at his home at 192 Old City Falls Road when his son, Nathaniel Guyer, came over to check on the vehicle.
According to police affidavits, when Nathaniel Guyer approached his father’s house, he saw that the work on the car was not finished, so he began to fix a tire when his father came out of the house. William Guyer looked at his son and said, “What the (explicative) is going on here?”
Nathaniel Guyer, along with his girlfriend, Shilah Senecal, went inside the house, where they were confronted by William Guyer holding a Winchester 30-30 model 94 rifle. Nathaniel Guyer wrote in a statement that he asked his father what he intended to do, and William Guyer replied, “That all depends on you.”
William Guyer had been drinking and as he began to point the gun in his son’s direction, Nathaniel Guyer lunged at the weapon in an effort to push it away, police said. Father and son soon found themselves entangled, both holding the gun. A shot was then fired inside the house. Court documents show that Nathaniel Guyer claims that his father shot the gun, while William Guyer thinks his son pulled the trigger.
William Guyer then threw the gun onto his bed and a physical altercation between the father and son ensued. Nathaniel Guyer and Senecal, then exited the home, both leaving in different cars. Senecal heard a loud gunshot as she drove away with her sister, Crimson O’Reilly, in the car.
The next day, Senecal noticed a bullet hole in the roof of her gold Saturn, according to the affidavits. Saturday morning, Vermont State Police officers arrived at William Guyer’s house. When confronted by three troopers, Guyer said his son came to his house and “had to be a big shot.” Guyer told the police he thought his son pulled the trigger on the rifle inside the house. When asked about the bullet hole in the top of the Saturn, Guyer said, “What car?”
Troopers found two 30-30 rifles inside Guyer’s bedroom, a box of bullets, a bullet hole in the ceiling and two bullet casings.
Guyer was then lodged at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department on $15,000 bail.
On Monday, Guyer wore jean shorts and a light blue T-shirt with the words Stoneboat Hill Farm across the front when he appeared for arraingment in Orange Superior Court. He was released without having to post bail after Judge Timothy Tomasi set conditions that Guyer must stay 300 feet away from his son, Nathaniel Guyer, and his son’s girlfriend and her sister.
Tomasi also ordered Guyer to surrender all firearms and submit to an alcosensor test whenever requested by police. The judge emphasized that Guyer must not have contact with his son and his son’s girlfriend.
“By no contact, I mean,” but before Tomasi could finish his sentence, Guyer interrupted him and said, “No arguing.”
Tomasi clarified by saying that he should have no telephone conversations, emails or texts between his son and Shilah Senecal.
In court on Monday, Guyer’s public defender, Catherine Dux, said there has been long-standing tension between Guyer and his son.
“It’s just been a dispute that’s been going on for awhile and it escalated way out of hand and I shouldn’t have done what I did,” Guyer said in an interview inside the courthouse after his arraignment.
When his son came to his house, Guyer said, his son was “all wound up.”
“He loses his temper pretty good,” Guyer said.
Guyer said after his arraignment that the gun went off accidentally and it wasn’t pointed at anyone. As for the bullet hole in the car, he said he doesn’t remember aiming at the car. Guyer said he likely shot up into the sky, and maybe the bullet ricocheted off something and hit the car.
“I was just trying to scare him and get him off the property,” Guyer said.
Guyer was involved in an accident fatality in 2004 after 21-year-old Timothy W. Gibbs, of Lebanon, lost control of his motorcycle on Route 107 in Stockbridge and was struck and killed by Guyer’s oncoming pickup truck.
No criminal charges were filed against Guyer.
Guyer’s cousin, ex-wife, daughter and her fiance showed up at Monday’s arraignment. When the hearing was over, his daughter, Erin Guyer, expressed concerns to Dux, the public defender, about her father’s ability to stay 300 feet away from his son.
Erin Guyer explained that Nathaniel Guyer lives up the road from William Guyer, and if William Guyer were in his front yard or checking the mail and Nathaniel Guyer drove buy, then her father could be within 300 feet of his son unintentionally.
“I just don’t want him to violate it,” Erin Guyer said in an interview after the hearing.
William Guyer walked out of the courthouse with his family on Monday and he is scheduled to be back in court for a status conference on Sept. 4.
Sarah Brubeck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3223.