Judge Rules On Deputy Bunnell Issue In Knife case

Adam Gilman, left, and defense attorney Brice Simon in Caledonia Superior Court in St. Johnsbury on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (Photo By Todd Wellington)

A judge has ruled that Caledonia County State’s Attorney Jessica Zaleski does not have to disclose details of the investigation into former Caledonia County Deputy Sheriff Steven Bunnell.

Vermont State Police have been looking into allegations that Bunnell, who is no longer a police officer, traded money and gifts for nude photos and sex from several local women. Bunnell has not been charged with a crime.

The investigation into Bunnell is being led by the Windham County State’s Attorney’s Office to avoid conflicts of interest in Caledonia County. But that didn’t stop a defense attorney from demanding the full details of the Bunnell investigation from Zaleski’s office.

Caledonia Superior Court

Earlier this year, Attorney Adam Hescock of White River Junction filed a motion to compel the release of information about the Bunnell investigation on behalf of his client, Adam Tyler Gilman, 33, of Newark.

Gilman stands accused of forcing his way into a Summer Street residence in September of 2019, unlawfully restraining two women, assaulting a man and threatening him with “large knives,” according to court documents. Deputy Bunnell was the officer who transported Gilman from the St. Johnsbury Police Station to Northeast Correctional Complex after he was arrested.

On Tuesday, Judge Michael J. Harris ruled in favor of Zaleski citing Bunnell’s minor role in the Gilman case.

“Mr. Bunnell had no role in the investigation into the charges pending against defendant,” wrote Judge Harris in his Entry Order. “Neither party provided a reason to believe such evidence would be material to the case…The state does not have a duty to disclose the internal investigation into Mr. Bunnell because it is not material to this case.”

Gilman has pleaded not guilty to six charges related to the Summer Street incident and faces a possible sentence of up to life in prison as a habitual offender.

Bunnell became involved in the Gilman case when he was called to the St. Johnsbury Police Station to assist with Gilman’s arrest after Gilman started acting “out of control,” according to a report by Bunnell that was filed as part of the criminal case against Gilman.

Caledonia County prosecutors say Bunnell will not be called as a witness at Gilman’s trial.

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