Second defendant pleads to lesser charge in long-running manslaughter case

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 2/12/2020 10:13:55 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — The second defendant in a manslaughter and assault case from 12 years ago walked from the Windsor County Superior courtroom on Tuesday after receiving a mostly suspended sentence.

Springfield, Vt.-area man Timothy Arbuckle, 39, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault for kicking Vincent Tamburello Jr. as he lay dying on a softball field in Chester, Vt., in 2008. He also pleaded guilty to three counts of violating the conditions of his release.

As part of his plea deal, Arbuckle was given a 5- to 12-year prison sentence, all suspended but three years, according to former Windsor County State’s Attorney David Cahill, who returned to oversee the case resolution this week.

Arbuckle, who has been in and out of jail several times since his arrest 11½ years ago, has some jail time credited toward his sentence and was allowed to walk from the courtroom Tuesday, Cahill said. However, he added that the Vermont Department of Corrections is still calculating how much time Arbuckle should be credited for. If they find that he owes additional prison time, Arbuckle could be taken into custody at a later date.

The 39-year-old is the second person involved in Tamburello’s death to be sentenced this year. In January, Springfield man Kyle Bolaski, 36, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to seven to 15 years in prison for his part in the killing.

The charges stem from an incident in August 2008 when Arbuckle, Bolaski and several other people met Tamburello, whom they’d been sparring with, on the field in Chester, according to prosecutors. Prosecutors said Tamburello, who a toxicology report later revealed had several drugs in his system, started chasing Bolaski with a splitting maul after a confrontation; they said Bolaski shot Tamburello in the leg and buttocks, and Arbuckle kicked him as he bled to death.

Bolaski was charged with murder and Arbuckle was charged with second-degree murder for acting as an accessory to the crime. Over the ensuing years he’s also been charged with several counts of violating the conditions of his release, and of perjury for allegedly lying on the stand at Bolaski’s murder trial in 2011. Bolaski’s conviction following that trial was overturned by the Vermont Supreme Court in 2014.

Cahill, who was one of three states attorneys to prosecute Arbuckle and Bolaski’s cases over their nearly 12-year run, said much of the delay in the case can be attributed to a dispute over the charges.

“Key individuals involved in the case have been unwilling to call it what it is,” he said Wednesday, adding that it was never a case of murder, like it was initially labeled. Rather, it was a case of manslaughter and aggravated assault.

“It was reprehensible and resulted in (Tamburello’s) death, however there was no preconceived plan to kill. … The charges need to reflect that.”

Tamburello’s father, Vincent Tamburello, has long argued that Bolaski deserved a murder charge, claiming that Bolaski chased his son before shooting him.

Messages sent to Vincent Tamburello were not returned Wednesday.

Anna Merriman can be reached at amerriman@vnews.com or 603-727-3216.




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