A gruesome assault in the Northeast Kingdom this weekend left a man clinging to life. His alleged attacker was in court Monday facing attempted murder charges.
Evan Rapoza stayed calm as he faced charges that could bring him life in prison. "I ask the court to enter his pleas of not guilty," defense attorney Ben Black told Vt. Superior Court Judge Brian Grearson.
St. Johnsbury police say Rapoza attacked a furnace repairman, 50-year-old Michael Kuligoski, an employee of Fred's Propane in Lyndonville. Kuligoski had gone to the Rapozas' property on Maple Street in St. Johnsbury when the 21-year-old allegedly hit Kuligoski over the head with a foot-long wrench.
"This wrench was soaked in blood so bad that the handle looked as though it had been painted red," investigators wrote in court paperwork.
On top of the wrench beating, police say Rapoza dragged his victim across the basement floor, tried drowning him in a bucket of water and wrapped a belt around his neck twice, attempting to strangle him.
Police say when they arrived, they found Rapoza huddled against the wall in the fetal position.
"The defendant has displayed a variety of mental health and competency issues," Caledonia County Deputy Prosecutor Benjamin Luna told the court.
Investigators say Evan Rapoza wouldn't or couldn't tell them his name. "I asked several more times with no response," one officer wrote in court documents. "Just a blank stare. Evan stated at this point, 'arrest me' and stood up."
Nothing in Monday's court hearing or in police documents indicated a possible motive or what sparked the violence, or even if Rapoza had ever met the victim before. Police say Rapoza's brother and father were in the house and lost track of where he was. Then, when they looked for him, they found the blood-covered basement floor and Kuligoski barely conscious.
Rapoza pled not guilty. Judge Grearson ordered him held without bail. Rapoza is also scheduled for a competency hearing at the state's mental hospital.
Kuligoski is still at Dartmouth Hitchcock. He's reportedly been stabilized but is in critical condition. Police say he suffered fractured ribs, a collapsed lung, and head wounds. Two of his family members were at the court hearing. They declined comment but were obviously very upset and shaken up.
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:39 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:39:09 GMT
"Awesome -- I lost it when I finished I have to say, but it was great. It was great," said Amy Sullivan. The 2013 Boston Marathon runner was all smiles as she and 450 other runners crossed the finishMore >>
A race in southern Vermont Sunday gave runners who were unable to finish the Boston Marathon a second chance at the finish line.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:38 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:38:13 GMT
They come from all over the state and wait in line for hours. "It's become sort of a yearly event for us. We've been doing it for eight or nine years now -- we're having a blast," said Ed Sayers ofMore >>
Dozens of drivers gathered in Chelsea for a record setting road rally -- full of riddles that keep drivers and passengers on their toes.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:36 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:36:52 GMT
College graduation season is in full swing -- and Sunday in Burlington it was a big one. A crowd of nearly 10,000 attended the 211th commencement ceremony at the University of Vermont.In all, more thanMore >>
A crowd of nearly 10,000 attended the 211th commencement ceremony at the University of Vermont.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:28 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:28:28 GMT
Fire destroyed a barn in Clinton County, New York Sunday morning.It happened in the town of Mooers. Officials say the barn on Eddy Road was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived just before 11:30More >>
Officials say the barn on Eddy Road was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived just before 11:30 a.m.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:27 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:27:13 GMT
A Berlin, New Hampshire man is dead following a kayaking accident.It happened on a stretch of the Upper Ammonoosuc River in the town of Dummer. Officials say Keith Whitten, 58, was paddling with his wifeMore >>
A Berlin, New Hampshire man is dead following a kayaking accident.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:26 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:26:39 GMT
Woodchuck Hard Cider is taking legal action to protect its furry mascot.Last week the Middlebury company filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against South Burlington-based Woodchuck Coffee RoastersMore >>
Woodchuck Hard Cider is taking legal action to protect its furry mascot.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:17 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:17:27 GMT
Vermont State Police have charged 22-year-old Adam Page of Newport for stealing the Newport City Elementary School bus, which has now been declared totaled. A stolen dog was also recovered in the busMore >>
State Police say he is also being charged with the theft of two other vehicles and a woman's dog.More >>