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Notorious repeat offender Breer makes initial court appearance

Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 10:16 AM EDT
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BARRE, Vt. (WCAX) - Notorious Vermont felon Harley Breer is back behind bars again a day after surrendering to state police following a five-day manhunt. And if the judge sides with the prosecutor, Breer could stay there for a while.

The 51-year-old repeat offender has been a problem for his community for years and some were not happy to see him released last year following his latest conviction. But the plea deal he struck came with strict conditions that will hurt his chances of avoiding jail time again.

“At this time, the state believes based upon the criminal record and the allegations set forth in the violation of probation complaint, that there’s sufficient basis to hold the defendant without bail,” Washington County State’s Attorney Rory Thibault told a judge at Breer’s initial court appearance Thursday.

Breer, one of Vermont’s most notorious criminals, has previously served time for kidnapping, assault, and rape. He took a plea deal in May of last year following an aggravated domestic assault charge with a habitual offender enhancement. He was sentenced to house arrest instead of prison, in part, because of the pandemic. The state even gave him a year to transfer his supervision and move out of Vermont.

“We have to think about whether we’re going to be willing to let our children play in our yard,” said Jennifer Miner from Marshfield, Breer’s hometown.

The opportunity to leave and his probation status ended Friday after police say he assaulted a neighbor, removed his ankle monitor, and escaped custody. With help from family members, Police say Breer was on the run for five days before finally surrendering Wednesday. “Communities can sleep well. Mr. Breer is back in jail,” Vermont State Police Capt. Matt Daley said following his arrest.

Despite the new charges, Breer will face the most punishment for violating his probation on the last conviction. He’s now likely to face 20 years to life in prison. He does have some credit for time served, so it’s unclear how long he will now spend in jail.

Breer’s formal arraignment has been delayed until next Wednesday.

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