Man pleads guilty to assault, other charges

  • Calvin Therrien, left, and his attorney Joshua Stern, right, listen to Windsor County State's Attorney Ward Goodenough detail the December 2020 shooting that Therrien accepted responsibility for in Windsor Superior Court in White River Junction, Vt., on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. Therrien changed his plea to guilty on a charge of aggravated assault and burglary into an occupied dwelling with a deadly weapon, and two charges of theft, and was sentenced to three years and six months to eight years in state prison. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Valley News — James M. Patterson

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 2/2/2023 7:25:18 PM
Modified: 2/3/2023 2:53:27 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — A homeless Vermont man and repeat offender whose crime spree around Hartford culminated in him shooting another man at his residence in White River Junction more than two years ago pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and other charges on Monday.

Calvin Therrien expressed remorse in court and saying he hoped “to put my best foot forward from here and pay back the people I’ve harmed.”

Therrien, who had no permanent address and has been incarcerated since his arrest in 2021, pleaded guilty in Windsor Superior Court on Thursday to charges of aggravated assault and burglary into an occupied dwelling with a deadly weapon in connection with the 2020 shooting and was sentenced to three years and six months to eight years in state prison.

He also pleaded guilty to two separate charges of theft, for which he received sentences of five days each, to be served concurrently with the assault and burglary sentence. Because Therrien, 42, has already been behind bars for nearly two years, he could be free in 18 months providing state corrections officials deem he is eligible to be released back into the community,

Numerous other charges, including identity theft, possession of narcotics, petit larceny and unlawful trespass relating to a series of crimes he is alleged also to have committed in 2020, were all dropped as part of his negotiated plea agreement.

“The agreement here provides an appropriate response to the seriousness of the charges and the seriousness of the offenses of conviction,” said Windsor Superior Court Judge John Treadwell in approving Therrien’s sentence, saying the sentence took into account both a “punitive element” and an “adequate rehabilitative element.”

Treadwell urged also that there “should be an expectation of fairly stringent supervision” when Therrien reenters society.

Therrien along with an accomplice, Anthony Cormier, forced their way into a camper home on Christian Street in White River Junction in the early morning hours of Dec. 28, 2020, where Therrien shot one male occupant in the arm with a pistol and Cormier hit another male occupant with the metal pipe in the attack that investigators said at the time was provoked by Therrien’s anger over being denied permission to reside there.

The man who was shot was not seriously injured and Cormier, 33 at the time, was apprehended by police shortly afterward leaving a hotel in White River Junction.

Therrien, 40 at the time, remained at large and was not arrested until four months later.

Cormier, who was charged with aggravated assault and burglary — later amended to burglary into an occupied dwelling — pleaded guilty in June 2021 and was sentenced to one year to five years in state prison, all suspended except for 60 days, and placed on probation for five years, according to Vermont state court records.

The theft charges to which Therrien pleaded guilty involved two separate shoplifting incidents in 2020 from the Hanover Coop store in White River Junction, according to court documents.

Both the prosecutor and Therrien’s defense attorney ascribed Therrien’s raft of charges in 2020 as influenced by Therrien’s substance abuse and drug addiction.

At the time of his arrest, Therrien had accumulated seven separate criminal dockets in Windsor County over approximately a one-year period and pre-2020 had 12 prior misdemeanor convictions, two prior felony convictions and six failures to appear for court appointments, according to a memo prepared by prosecutors for Therrien’s bail hearing.

The negotiated plea deal is “predicated on (Therrien’s) acceptance of responsibility,” Windsor County Attorney Ward Goodenough explained to the court, noting that the defendant had “accumulated a rapid number of charges over the course of 2020” and the “major driver” behind them “appears to have been substance abuse throughout.”

Intervention that might have “interrupted” Therrien’s criminal behavior before it reached a violent stage was hampered by “the circumstances at the time and the tools available,” Goodenough said. “This sentence structure seems to be the best one that made the most sense to everyone involved.”

Defense attorney Joshua Stern concurred.

“There were a number of charges at issue here that occurred over a fairly brief period of time in Mr. Therrien’s life in 2020. It’s very clear that he was going through very serious issues with addiction and substance use at the time,” Stern said. “That’s no excuse for the very serious conduct that (Therrien) is pleading guilty to” but “it does provide some context, perhaps. And since his incarceration, he’s been able to detox and get clean, and he’s hoping that he can stay clean.”

In addition to the prison sentence, Therrien was also ordered to pay $373.45 in restitution for identity theft and $14.07 and $19.98 in restitution for shoplifting from the Coop, to be paid in increments of $50 per month for the ID theft and $5.00 per month for the shoplifting thefts.

Goodenough, speaking on behalf of the ID theft victim, told the court that she did “not want Mr. Therrien to serve jail time” and “she indicated that people make mistakes and she was just hoping for restitution,” which Goodenough cited as a “contributing factor” as to the reason the state dismissed the ID theft charge.

Contact John Lippman at

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