Letter: Justice for Kyle Bolaski

To the Editor:

Having attended several court sessions in the Kyle Bolaski murder trial, I was shocked by the guilty verdict and haunted by the obvious miscarriage of justice. News that the Vermont Supreme Court has voted to review the conviction is an auspicious step toward restoring my faith in the judicial system.

I agree with defense attorney William Nelson that the judge’s decision to disallow testimony about the troubled history of Bolaski’s attacker prevented Bolaski, clearly acting in self-defense, from receiving a fair trial.

In addition to not allowing that evidence, another failure of the court was taking at face value the fact that Bolaski shot his attacker not once, but twice, with the last shot to the attacker’s back. Rather than using the second shot as evidence of murder, I would argue that the number and location of shots fired should be looked at in the context of Bolaski’s state of mind at the time. Motivated by fear, adrenaline and emotion, and pursued by an ax-wielding man intent on killing him, Bolaski’s decision to fire a second shot simply shows that his survival instincts temporarily trumped rational thought — trumped it to the point that he could not have been expected to be aware of how many times, or to what part of his attacker’s body, the shots were fired.

Let’s hope action by the state Supreme Court will lead to Bolaski’s exoneration.

George T. Hathorn