Quantcast

Manchester man charged with fatally shooting friend - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Manchester man charged with fatally shooting friend

Bennington, Vermont - November 29, 2010

23-year-old Nicholas Bell, a native of Manchester, wiped tears from his face as he answered to manslaughter charges stemming from the Thanksgiving Day shooting death of his close buddy. "It's an absolutely tragic day for everyone involved," said Bennington County State's Attorney Erica Marthage. "It certainly highlights the importance of gun safety."

Manchester Police say Bell and 24-year-old Jeffrey Charbonneau had spent the night at another friend's house. Bell called 911 for help, telling the dispatcher he tried to wake Charbonneau up Thursday morning using what he thought was a non-lethal pellet gun, but what was really a .22 caliber rifle aimed at Charbonneau's chest.

"It was just on the wall in his little brother's room," Bell said in 911 transcripts included in court records. "I thought it was an Air Soft gun or something, and the next thing I knew, it fired, I squeezed it and it fired. I didn't think it was loaded. I had no idea."

"We filled the courthouse because he's our dear friend," explained Victoria Kraft of Dorset.

Kraft was one of more than 3-dozen friends and relatives supporting both Bell and the man he's charged with fatally shooting. "We want [Nick Bell] to know he can honor Jeff for his whole life, just like we all will do," Kraft said.

Bell pled not guilty to the charges that could bring a 1-to-15 year prison sentence. Prosecutors say Charbonneau's death was an accident, but one that demands punishment. "It's difficult to imagine this would be considered an appropriate prank in any home in Vermont," Marthage said.

Police and prosecutors are not sure whether Bell was drunk at the time of the shooting, but he told investigators the men went out to a restaurant and bar the night before.

High school classmates of both Charbonneau and Bell call the apparent mixup a heartbreaking blow to their tight circle of friends. The group gathered in the courtroom remembers Charbonneau as an avid traveler, a UVM economics grad, and a high school hockey and soccer player. Members of the group said they'll miss Charbonneau dearly, but added Bell is no villain.

"We've just known him all of our lives, and just know what an awesome, wonderful individual he is," said Calley Schubert of Manchester. "And we're just here to show our support and our love and back him up in these really difficult times for everybody."

"I hope it's a very large lesson learned to our community at large as to what can happen when we're not careful," Kraft said.

Nick Bell's father posted $25,000 bail. Under the conditions of Bell's release, he'll have a curfew, is not to have contact with the Charbonneaus, and is not to handle any guns.

Jack Thurston - WCAX News

Related Stories:

Safety experts: Deadly Manchester gun mix-up avoidable

Manchester, Vt., man shot and killed in bed

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • 2 charged with skid-steer joyride on I-89

    2 charged with skid-steer joyride on I-89

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:15 PM EDT2014-09-02 02:15:25 GMT
    The theft of some construction vehicles caused chaos on the Interstate this weekend.
    The theft of some construction vehicles caused chaos on the Interstate this weekend.
  • Bike racers wrap up weekend events

    Bike racers wrap up weekend events

    Monday, September 1 2014 9:59 PM EDT2014-09-02 01:59:03 GMT
    The Green Mountain Stage Race took to the streets of Burlington Monday.
    The Green Mountain Stage Race took to the streets of Burlington Monday.
  • Allergy sufferers brave ragweed season

    Allergy sufferers brave ragweed season

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:08:26 GMT
    If you're sneezing, your nose is running and you're eyes are itchy once again this year -- you're not alone. Fall pollen counts are peaking in our region and proving tough for allergy sufferers looking to enjoy the outdoors.Despite a spate of heat and humidity, the signs of fall are undeniable. Cooler temperatures and color are on the way. And even though many think of spring as "allergy season" due to tree pollens, this time of year can be particularly tough for allergy sufferers, too -- bec...
    If you're sneezing, your nose is running and you're eyes are itchy once again this year -- you're not alone. Fall pollen counts are peaking in our region and proving tough for allergy sufferers looking to enjoy the outdoors.Despite a spate of heat and humidity, the signs of fall are undeniable. Cooler temperatures and color are on the way. And even though many think of spring as "allergy season" due to tree pollens, this time of year can be particularly tough for allergy sufferers, too -- bec...
  • Holiday drivers find lower prices at the pump

    Holiday drivers find lower prices at the pump

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:59 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:59:21 GMT
    Drivers this holiday weekend found lower gas prices at the pump.
    Drivers this holiday weekend found lower gas prices at the pump.
  • Sanders addresses Labor Day rally

    Sanders addresses Labor Day rally

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:51 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:51:52 GMT
    Community members gathered in Burlington's Battery Park Monday to celebrate Labor Day -- and hear from Senator Bernie Sanders.Union leaders addressed the importance of employees supporting one another. They also thanked the community for supporting Vermont's unions. Senator Sanders says the holiday is for working people to not only celebrate their gains, but to also address issues facing the working class."There's a lot of work in front of us if we're going to make sure that our kids and our ...
    Community members gathered in Burlington's Battery Park Monday to celebrate Labor Day -- and hear from Senator Bernie Sanders.Union leaders addressed the importance of employees supporting one another. They also thanked the community for supporting Vermont's unions. Senator Sanders says the holiday is for working people to not only celebrate their gains, but to also address issues facing the working class."There's a lot of work in front of us if we're going to make sure that our kids and our ...
  • Authorities seize animals from Santa's Land

    Authorities seize animals from Santa's Land

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:32 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:32:03 GMT
    The Windham County Sheriffs Department says it seized multiple animals from the theme park this weekend.
    The Windham County Sheriffs Department says it seized multiple animals from the theme park this weekend.
  • Body discovered in Massena

    Body discovered in Massena

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:02 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:02:43 GMT
    New York State Police are investigating an unidentified body found in Massena.
    New York State Police are investigating an unidentified body found in Massena.
  • Community remembers O'Hagan's presence at Sheffield Field Days

    Community remembers O'Hagan's presence at Sheffield Field Days

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:54 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:54:21 GMT

    Sheffield Field Days is a Labor Day tradition -- attended by hundreds. But each year the event reminds the community who is missing.

    Sheffield Field Days is a Labor Day tradition -- attended by hundreds. But each year the event reminds the community who is missing.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.