It was a brutal attack inside a St. Johnsbury apartment house that nearly killed furnace repairman Michael Kuligoski of Danville.
Evan Rapoza of St. Johnsbury allegedly beat the 52-year-old father of two with a wrench and then nearly drowned him two years ago during a service call. Rapoza, 23, was originally charged with attempted murder. But doctors determined that Rapoza was insane at the time of the attack and charges were dropped. Instead, he was committed to a mental health facility.
Lawyers are now asking the judge to release Rapoza from the Brattleboro Retreat.
"Significantly, it's been almost two years to the date. Mr. Rapoza has not demonstrated any actions of violence or threats of violence, verbal or otherwise," Caledonia County Assistant State's Attorney Ben Luna said.
But it turns out the Department of Mental Health released Rapoza from the Brattleboro Retreat a month ago, even though it had to be approved by a judge.
"So, it could consider whether a transfer or discharge was consistent with public safety," Vt. Superior Court Judge Mary Teachout said.
Rapoza has been staying at the Meadowview Recovery Residence, a secure mental health treatment center in Brattleboro. The state admits the mistake and says that's because this case is different. A family court judge's approval is good enough in most cases, but the mental health department admits it overlooked the fact a criminal court judge was supposed to rule on Rapoza's release, as well.
"We need to make sure we take every step and we will be reviewing the detail on what happened in this situation," Vt. Mental Health Commissioner Mary Moulton said.
Judge Teachout considered returning Rapoza to the Brattleboro Retreat Friday, but decided against it. She did say Rapoza must not leave the treatment center, even though the conditions of his transfer allowed for it.
"With a person with mental conditions the court is aware transitions can be problematic and difficult and can trigger things and can be difficulty with treatment," the judge said.
Judge Teachout plans to hold a hearing on Rapoza's release in the coming weeks and told the state to make sure a bed is ready for Rapoza at the Brattleboro Retreat because Friday's ruling should not indicate where Rapoza will be placed.
Kuligoski is still recovering and is limited in his day-to-day activities. Even two years after the attack he attends physical therapy three times a week.
Tuesday, May 21 2013 12:41 PM EDT2013-05-21 16:41:46 GMT
The Vermont couple charged with killing a Saint Johnsbury teacher will be in court Tuesday and are planning on asking for new lawyers. Prosecutors say Allen and Patricia Prue kidnapped and killed 33-year-oldMore >>
A Vermont judge has denied a request for a new lawyer by a woman charged, along with her husband, with killing a popular St. Johnsbury teacher.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 12:36 PM EDT2013-05-21 16:36:47 GMT
A former animal control officer charged with two counts of prohibited acts was arraigned Tuesday morning. Gary Francis is accused of asking two women to show him their breasts for money. Francis pleadedMore >>
A former animal control officer charged with asking women to show him their breasts for money was arraigned Tuesday.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:03 AM EDT2013-05-21 14:03:49 GMT
A Middlebury man has pleaded not guilty to federal arson charges stemming from a fire at a Pittsford car dealership back in July 2011. Police said they found 29-year-old Steven Browne behind the wheelMore >>
A Middlebury man has pleaded not guilty to federal arson charges stemming from a fire at a Pittsford car dealership back in July 2011.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 12:37 PM EDT2013-05-21 16:37:40 GMT
The big story nationally is the aftermath of the disastrous tornado that struck Moore, Okla., Monday. Search and rescue efforts are taking place all over the devastated suburban community. Dozens uponMore >>
In the wake of a devastating tornado, Vt. Gov. Peter Shumlin issued a statement offering sympathy and support to Oklahoma.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:06 AM EDT2013-05-21 14:06:59 GMT
A historic building in North Bennington will have new owners and a new purpose. Merchant's Bank donated the building to the Fund for North Bennington and the Preservation Trust of Vermont. That buildingMore >>
A historic building in North Bennington will have new owners and a new purpose.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:09 AM EDT2013-05-21 14:09:03 GMT
Work on a chain reaction road project is in full swing starting in Northfield. Crews are working on the final coat of pavement on Route 12 and 12A, and hope to wrap up shortly. The next phase in RandolphMore >>
Work on a chain reaction road project is in full swing starting in Northfield.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 12:38 PM EDT2013-05-21 16:38:29 GMT
Do you know how much time your children or grandchildren spend in phys ed? Where you live in Vermont can make a big difference in answering that question. This week on the Channel 3 News at 6 p.m., EducationMore >>
Do you know how much time your children or grandchildren spend in phys ed? Where you live in Vermont can make a big difference in answering that question.More >>