The defense attorney representing a man accused in April of molesting a seven-year-old girl in Lyndonville told the court on Monday that his client moved to Florida after receiving threats.
Brandon Neville, 37, pleaded not guilty by WebEx in Caledonia Superior Court to a felony charge of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child.
Neville’s address in court documents is listed as the Fairbanks Inn on Western Avenue in St. Johnsbury but State’s Attorney Jessica Zaleski asked the court during Neville’s arraignment to clarify where he was currently living.
“We have some information that indicates that he may have left the state,” said Zaleski.
Caledonia Superior Court
Neville told the court he was now living in Florida and his lawyer, Corby A. Gary of St. Johnsbury explained why.
“He was receiving threats while up here,” said Attorney Gary. “He received threats directly as well as posts…”
Attorney Gary also asked the judge to keep Neville’s new address in Florida non-public for his personal safety.
But Zaleski said she was concerned about keeping track of the defendant while he is living out-of-state.
“We have a situation where he’s fled the jurisdiction - albeit he has his reasons - but it is concerning,” said Zaleski. “Part of the reason I would like to have a physical address is so I can notify law enforcement in the county where Mr. Neville’s residing. As far as the threats, I think there are plenty of mechanisms for Mr. Neville to file restraining orders, no stalking orders or protective orders if that’s what he needs to do…We have no information about how long he’s gonna stay there, if he plans to return…”
Attorney Gary argued that his defendant may have left Vermont but did not flee the court.
“It was the threats judge that had him go to Florida,” said Attorney Gary. “He hasn’t fled the jurisdiction. He has not moved to Bolivia. He has not crossed the Rio Grande…I don’t want to make the address public. I’m willing to give it to the state - with Brandon’s consent - as long as the state doesn’t make it public.”
As of Tuesday, the court did not have a record of Neville’s address in Florida.
According to court documents, the alleged incident between Neville and the child occurred in March and was reported to police on April 19.
The court released Neville on the condition that he does not contact the alleged victim in the case and that he has no contact with females under the age of 16 while the case is pending.
If convicted of the charge Neville faces a possible sentence of 2-15 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.