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Springfield, Vt. man accused of attempted murder requests lower bail

Terrick Craft, left, talks with attorney Cabot Teachout in court in July 2011. 
(Valley News — Jennifer Hauck)

Terrick Craft, left, talks with attorney Cabot Teachout in court in July 2011. (Valley News — Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »

A Springfield, Vt. man charged with attempting to murder a man in broad daylight boasted in phone calls from prison that the shooting was only the “beginning” of a plan to exert influence in town, according to recordings played in court.

Terrick Craft, 28, made that statement and others during jailhouse phone calls in which he seemed to assert authority in Springfield, Vt. and threaten violence against anyone who stood in his way.

“This little town, we’re taking over,” Craft said in a recording played by prosecutors in Windsor Superior Court yesterday during a bail hearing. “This was a sample. Any given time, any given place, things can go down. They need to watch it. This is only the beginning. I’m not playing. I’m knocking everyone. That’s the whole purpose. It can get ugly at any place — morning, church, your mother’s birthday. You got to put your foot down.”

The tapes, of calls between Craft and unidentified individuals, were played during a hearing in which Craft’s attorney, Karen DeWolfe, asked a judge to lower his bail and release him from prison.

DeWolfe contested Deputy Windsor County State’s Attorney David Cahill’s efforts to have the recordings admitted as evidence.

Ultimately, Judge Robert Gerety declined to rule on the bail issue yesterday, saying he would soon issue a written decision.

“Mr. Craft shot at someone four to five times. If Mr. Craft gets out, the state has genuine fears that Mr. Craft will finish what he didn’t succeed at the first time,” Cahill said. “These are clearly threatening statements directed at other people.”

But DeWolfe said the recordings provided little context, and did not indicate any criminal intent.

“These tapes are ambiguous at best,” DeWolfe said. “Casual comments in private conversations ... should not be held against him.”

Inmate phone calls are recorded — participants are notified by an automated warning that police will have access to the calls.

Craft, a reputed member of the Bloods gang, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of attempted second-degree murder, which carries a maximum life sentence, and other charges, for allegedly shooting at 31-year-old Nicholas Brown.

According to court documents, Craft pulled a gun on Brown when the two men ran into each other in downtown Springfield, Vt. on a July afternoon. Brown punched Craft in the face and wrestled him to the ground in a choke hold, Brown later told police.

Craft suffered a broken jaw, but he was able to stand up and fire four to five shots. Brown ran off. Police found bullet holes in a nearby building.

Craft turned himself into police, and is being held in prison on $500,000 bail. Authorities have not provided a motive for the alleged confrontation.

DeWolfe has previously noted that the gun in the alleged incident has not been recovered, and the only witness to come forward is the reputed victim.

Craft’s wife, Tracy, briefly took the witness stand yesterday and said she would look after Craft if he were released on bail. Craft has lived in Springfield, Vt. since 2008, she testified.

Several of Craft’s friends and family members sat in the courtroom gallery yesterday — he bade them farewell as he was ushered away by sheriff’s deputies.

Mark Davis can be reached at mcdavis@vnews.com or 603-727-3304.