Springfield Man Sentenced For Firing Shots Downtown
In Windsor Superior Court in White RIver Junction, Vt. on Dec. 13, 2013 Terrick Craft looks around the court room. Craft pled no contest to aggravated assault with a weapon , obstruction of justice, and giving false information to a police officer. Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »
Jabbar Chadler, of Newark, N.J., speaks to reporters about his brother Terrick Craft outside Windsor Superior Court in White River Junction, Vt., on Dec. 13, 2013. Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »
White River Junction — A Springfield, Vt., man pleaded no contest to three charges stemming from a July 2012 incident in which he fired shots at another man during a confrontation in Springfield’s business district.
As part of Terrick Craft’s plea deal, seven other charges, including an attempted second-degree murder charge, were dismissed by the state. Craft was sentenced to eight to 15 years in prison.
Craft appeared in Windsor Superior Court on Friday and only spoke to say “yes” and “no” when the judge asked him questions.
Craft’s family sat in the courtroom and watched as he was sentenced.
As Craft was led away by officers, his bother hollered, “I love you,” while a woman waved goodbye.
Craft, who also goes by George Carter, pleaded no contest to felony charges of aggravated assault with a weapon and obstructing justice and a misdemeanor of providing false information to a police officer.
Craft has three prior felony convictions, including aggravated arson, and numerous misdemeanor convictions.
Craft’s name carries a lot of “baggage” in the Springfield community, Deputy Windsor County State’s Attorney David Cahill said. Craft is an alleged drug dealer, a reputed member of the Bloods gang and has allegedly scammed the disability insurance payments to avoid working , Cahill said in court.
“We are not here to convict Mr. Craft for any of those allegations,” Cahill said. “We are here to sentence him not for his reputation in the community but for a very specific set of acts.”
On July 9, 2012, Craft and Nicholas Brown ran into each other in Springfield, Vt., near Park and Main streets. Brown told police that Craft brandished a gun, which caused Brown to punch Craft in the face and take him to the ground in a chokehold.
When Brown and Craft got up, Craft withdrew a semi automatic pistol and fired at least four shots, Cahill said in court. Brown was not injured, but Craft suffered a broken jaw. The incident occurred during the day, and police found bullet holes in a nearby building.
“Mr. Craft wanted to save face after what had just happened to him,” Cahill said in court, “so he pulled out that weapon and fired shots at Mr. Brown.”
The state also alleges that the day after the shooting, Craft was interviewed at the Springfield Police Department and denied involvement in the shooting, saying he wasn’t dumb enough to fire a gun in broad daylight.
On Friday, Craft also pleaded no contest to an obstruction of justice charge for calling an individual from prison and asking him to provide a misleading statement to an investigator. He spoke in code over the phone and asked a man to write a statement that said that the shooter in the case was not Craft.
Cahill said that while Craft’s actions were provoked, they were also intentional and reckless because he fired shots in a densely populated area when bystanders were in the vicinity.
Craft’s attorney, Robert Sussman, acknowledged Friday that the allegations against Craft are serious, but he said Craft, 29, is relatively young and will have many years ahead of him when he is released from prison.
“When he has served his time, the hope is that he can move forward and frankly not come back to a building like this ever again,” Sussman said.
Sussman declined to comment further after the hearing.
Outside the courthouse Friday afternoon, Craft’s brother, Jabbar Chandler, of Newark, N.J., said he was upset that Cahill mentioned Craft’s previous record.
“I want to know how they can say that he shouldn’t be judged for his previous record, but they still discuss it,” Chandler said. “It’s going to paint a bad picture for him.”
He also questioned why Brown wasn’t charged in this incident, especially because Craft had a broken jaw.
After the hearing, Cahill said police never sent a charge referral for Brown to the Windsor County State’s Attorney’s office, and he added that it isn’t clear whether Brown was provoked or not when he allegedly hit Craft.
Cahill said in court that Brown was notified about Friday’s hearing and chose not to attend.
Sarah Brubeck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3223.