In Chester, Vt., Shooting, Bail for Bolaski Still Unclear
David Bolaski, of Springfield, Vt., is questioned by Deputy Franklin County State's Attorney John Lavoie during Bolaski's son's bail hearing on June 3, 2014 in Windsor District Court in White River Junction, Vt. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »
Defense attorney Brian Marsicovetere shows the court a photograph of Kyle Bolaski and one of the dogs he has trained while incarcerated in Kentucky. Bolaski was in Windsor District Court in White River Junction, Vt., on June 3, 2014 for a bail hearing. (
Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »
Kyle Bolaski walks into the court room in Windsor District Court in White River Junction, Vt., on June 3, 2014.
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White River Junction — Kyle Bolaski is likely to spend another couple of weeks in jail, but his parents are still hopeful that their son, who is charged with second-degree murder but has said the shooting was in self-defense, will soon be able to return to their Springfield, Vt., home.
After 100 minutes of testimony on Tuesday, Windsor Superior Court Judge Karen Carroll did not make a ruling about whether Bolaski should be let out on bail, but instead took the issue under advisement and will return with a written order.
The 30-year-old Springfield man was convicted of second-degree murder in 2011 in the Chester, Vt., shooting death of Vincent Tamburello Jr. But in April, the state Supreme Court overturned the conviction and ordered a new trial, citing improperly excluded evidence and flawed jury instructions.
Following the Supreme Court decision, Carroll ruled early last month that Bolaski should be held without bail pending his new trial. But after an appeal, the state Supreme Court ruled Bolaski should have a new bail hearing.
During that bail hearing on Tuesday, Bolaski’s father, David Bolaski, spoke in his son’s defense and talked about his strong family ties to Vermont. Prior to the 2011 trial, Kyle Bolaski worked at his mother’s home decor shop, Simply Country, in Chester, Vt., and David Bolaski said his son would work there again if he’s released and lives with his parents.
David Bolaski assured the court that if his son is released, he would report any violations of his court order.
David Bolaski also fondly spoke of his son’s work at the federal prison in Kentucky training dogs so they are more adoptable and can be sent to the local humane society. He explained that his son had to qualify for an honor program before becoming a full-time trainer, in which he has trained 13 dogs. The father then reached into his coat and pulled out a photo of his son next to one of the dogs he had trained.
Prosecutor John Lavoie objected, citing relevance. “I’m sure it’s a very cute dog, but it doesn’t have anything to do with...,” Lavoie said before trailing off.
Ultimately, Carroll took the photo.
Bolaski has said he shot Tamburello once in the leg and once in the buttocks in self-defense after Tamburello chased him with a splitting maul during a dispute in 2008 at a Chester park. A toxicology report showed Tamburello had a number of drugs in his blood and urine, including Xanax, THC, methadone, Paxil, Restoril, Oxazepam and canabanoids, according to the decision. The Supreme Court ruled in its decision that the judge in the first trial — Patricia Zimmerman, a former prosecutor who is now retired from the bench — gave improper jury instructions and should not have excluded evidence the defense sought to use about Tamburello’s mental health in the months before the shooting.
David Bolaski, who was joined in court by his wife, Kathy, and several of Kyle Bolaski’s aunts and uncles, said after the hearing that he is “cautiously optimistic” that his son might be released on bail.
“The Supreme Court decision was huge for us,” David Bolaski said, adding that he’s read the decision repeatedly. “If he’s denied bail, we go ahead with the ultimate goal of his new trial. Paramount will be preparing for his trial regardless of whether he is home or not.”
Bolaski’s attorney, Brian Marsicovetere argued that Bolaski should be freed on $100,000 bail and that he should be released on conditions, which is the same bail status Bolaski had before he was convicted of second-degree murder in 2011.
John Lavoie, the Deputy Franklin County State’s Attorney prosecutor, argued that Bolaski should be held without bail, arguing that the evidence of guilt is great, and also intimated that he had taken drugs while in jail.
While Kyle Bolaski was out on conditions of release prior to his first trial, he was charged with prescription fraud in Windham County, and he eventually pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of narcotics possession.
When Marsicovetere asked David Bolaski about this incident, he said his son participated in an inpatient program at the Brattleboro Retreat, did well in that program, and then completed an intensive outpatient program. His son also attended Narcotics Anonymous meetings he said.
When it was Lavoie’s turn to question David Bolaski, he asked about problems that his son might have had while he was incarcerated in the prison in Springfield, prior to being transferred to a prison in Kentucky, where Vermont sends many of its inmates convicted of major crimes. David Bolaski told the prosecutor that when he visited his son, he tried to stay positive and upbeat.
“So you didn’t talk to him about problems he had on a day-to-day basis while he was incarcerated?” Lavoie said.
“What problems are you referring to?” David Bolaski said. “The fact that he was incarcerated?”
“No, the fact that he was using drugs while in jail,” Lavoie said.
Marsicovetere immediately objected and Lavoie had to reframe his questions.
Lavoie asked David Bolaski if he was aware of an incident that occurred in October 2011 and in November 2011 in which his son was found with contraband at the Springfield facility. David Bolaski said no.
Lavoie had tried to submit Kyle Bolaski’s disciplinary reports while he has been in prison, but Marsicovetere objected, citing that the state needed to petition for a court order to access those records, which Lavoie did not do, but instead received the information from a case worker via email.
Ultimately, Carroll ordered the document sealed, and told both attorneys that they can make legal filings. She said she will issue a written order regarding whether the disciplinary records will be considered.
Lavoie argued that Bolaski be held without bail pending his second trial because the 2011 proceedings called into question his claim of self-defense.
“He’s looking at something much different than the freedom he thought he had coming to him at the end of the first trial,” Lavoie said. “The gravity of the offense and the manner of how it was perpetrated would more than out weigh his ties to the community.”
Marsicovetere argued that his client had stayed in Vermont prior to his first trial and that a jury will now be able to hear more evidence that will support Bolaski’s self-defense claim.
“The simple fact that there has been a conviction really doesn’t change anything,” Marsicovetere said. “He’s in a better position than when he started because now he knows he has the defense and he knows that the jury is going to be able to consider the relevant evidence.”
As an alternative, Marsicovetere filed an application seeking home detention.
Marsicovetere also told the judge that he thinks there is a good argument that the state can’t proceed with a second-degree murder charge, and that the defense looks forward to presenting that issue to the court.
Both Marsicovetere and Lavoie declined to comment after the hearing.
On the other side of the courtroom from the Bolaski family were Tamburello’s parents, Ronnie and Vincent Tamburello Sr. The Tamburellos, who live in the Boston area, make the drive to White River Junction for most court hearings dealing with their son’s death. Vincent Tamburello Sr. had little to say after the hearing, pointing out that nothing has changed.
“He should be in jail,” Tamburello Sr., said of Bolaski. “He’s a killer. He’s a murderer. If you release a murderer, the community is not protected. They’re protecting him too much.”
Carroll did not say when she would issue her written order.
Sarah Brubeck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3223.