Clerk won't face charges in would-be robber's death
VERGENNES, Vt. -
A store clerk whose fight with an armed robber contributed to her death will not face criminal charges.
Dana Phillips, 52, was working at the Champlain Farms convenience store in Vergennes last September when police say Yemalla Sprauve 34, snuck up on him wearing a mask, pointed a knife and threatened to cut him if he did not turn over some cash. Police say Phillips wrestled with Sprauve for 15 minutes until she passed out.
The medical examiner ruled Sprauve's death a homicide, saying pressure on her chest from Phillips holding her down in combination with acute cocaine intoxication caused her heart to stop.
Addison County State's Attorney David Fenster says no criminal charges will be brought against Phillips.
"For it to be a crime he would have had to have acted either with a culpable mental state, intended to hurt her, intended to kill her or acted so recklessly that that happened, and also not acting in self-defense. But in this case he only used as much force as reasonably necessary to subdue her and restrain her until police arrived," Addison County State's Attorney David Fenster said.
The prosecutor says surveillance video captured most of the scuffle on tape and was a key factor in his decision since there were no witnesses to the fight.