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Charlestown Man Held Without Bail After Springfield, Vt., Shooting

Suspect Has Extensive Past Record

White River Junction — A New Hampshire man who recently moved to the Upper Valley from New Jersey was ordered held without bail Monday, after pleading not guilty to felony charges of trespassing and assault with a deadly weapon during a violent altercation in a Springfield, Vt., apartment last week.

Because of his prior record in New Jersey, including convictions for three burglaries and for dealing drugs on school property, Jabbar Chandler, 33, could be considered a habitual offender, which means he may face sentences of up to life in prison if convicted on each of the two Vermont charges. He also faces a misdemeanor charge of simple assault, which carries a maximum penalty of either a year in prison or $1,000, in the altercation last Wednesday, in which one man in the apartment was shot.

Authorities said Chandler, Leon Jiggetts of Newark, N.J., and a 16-year-old associate entered a Summer Street apartment because of a dispute with the shooting victim, Joseph Atkinson, 19, over heroin. Jiggetts last week pleaded not guilty to charges that he shot Atkinson, but prosecutors also allege that Chandler struck Timothy Carleton, 30, who lived in the apartment, and later threatened his own girlfriend, Amy Scannell, with a .22 caliber handgun.

At the time of the shooting, Chandler was free on $2,500 bail in connection with charges of allegedly breaking and dislocating a Springfield man’s jaw.

In Windsor Superior Court Monday, Deputy Windsor County State’s Attorney David Cahill argued against allowing Chandler to post bail, calling his ties to Vermont “tenuous” since he was criminally active in New Jersey as recently as last year.

Cahill said that although Jiggetts bears the shooting charges, Chandler was carrying .45 caliber ammunition that matched Jiggetts’ weapon, not his own, making him a party to the shooting. A violent offender such as Chandler would be a danger to the victims, Cahill said.

Chandler stood upright and impassive while Cahill spoke. Occasionally he leaned down to whisper to his lawyer, Sandra Nelson, and other times turned around to mouth words to a young man in the gallery, who afterward would neither identify himself nor respond to questions regarding his relationship with Chandler, saying he had only dropped in to pay a parking ticket.

Nelson, temporarily representing Chandler, countered that because he had turned himself in, he was not a flight risk. Furthermore, since Chandler lived with his mother in Charlestown, N.H. and his sister lived in Springfield, Vt., he did have reason to remain in Vermont, she said.

Noting the 13 prior felonies on Chandler’s record, Judge Michael Pratt ordered him held without bail.

“Although he does have recent ties to Vermont, he does not have substantial ties,” he said.

Chandler, who was wearing a black T-shirt that read “Goon” in white letters, shook his head slightly as he left the courtroom.

Afterward, Cahill said that the 16-year-old, who police say struck Atkinson with a baseball bat, and Atkinson himself, who pleaded guilty in April to selling cocaine, could both still face charges.

On Thursday, Windsor County State’s Attorney Michael Kainen said that Atkinson was in critical condition at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Cahill did not know Atkinson’s status on Monday, and hospital officials said they could not release information about the patient without his permission.

Rob Wolfe can be reached at rwolfe@vnews.com or 603-727-3242.