NEWPORT CITY — Derick Niles has a “prolific” history of violent crimes over 25 years, says Judge A. Gregory Rainville.
The Orleans Superior Court judge on Friday advised Niles’ defense attorney that he also found the police evidence about new charges against Niles “compelling.”
It adds up to a “rather strong case” by the state to keep Niles, 43, of Newport City, in jail without bail in the short term pending trial, the judge said.
Niles, known for a rooftop standoff on Sept. 25, 2013, pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail on a recent charge of aggravated domestic assault in the first degree.
The standoff shut down a key route into Newport City and put a neighborhood on a lockdown. Niles stood on his roof with a gun for hours while his then wife and children were at home until police could negotiate an end to the conflict.
Niles pleaded not guilty March 23 to new charges of aggravated domestic assault and unlawful restraint in the second degree, both felonies, and two misdemeanor charges of domestic assault and interfering with access to emergency services.
The aggravated domestic assault charge carries a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in prison.
The most recent charges stem from an incident March 20 when police said Niles assaulted his girlfriend at the dirt pull-off on Route 5 in Coventry, according to a police affidavit. The woman got away and told police. Police arrested him later that day.
Niles appeared in the criminal court in Newport City Friday morning for a weight of evidence hearing to determine if he should be offered bail with conditions of release.
Orleans County State’s Attorney Jennifer Barrett presented documents as evidence detailing crimes on Niles’ record, including reckless endangerment from the standoff, past domestic assault, threats to kill, fighting, drug-related charges and violations of abuse prevention orders, probation and conditions of release.
Barrett told the judge that she would oppose releasing Niles into the custody of his mother, saying that she would not be suitable to take responsibility for her son.
Niles’ attorney, Brice Simon said he had not received copies of those documents and said he needed more time to review them and prepare his case. Several attorneys had declined to take Niles’ case due to conflicts of interest before Simon agreed to take it, leading to confusion apparently over getting the documents to the right attorney.
Simon said Niles’ son would be another person who could accept custody of Niles.
Simon also said that Barrett was trying to sway the court into denying bail in the short term.
The attorneys acknowledged that a recent Vermont Supreme Court ruling requires that Niles be offered some kind of bail with conditions within 60 days of entering prison. He has been in prison since he was first arrested on March 20.
Niles, present during the remote hearing by telephone from prison, spoke up several times as Barrett detailed his criminal record, arguing against what she said.
Rainville asked Niles to be patient, and then said “please be quiet.”
Simon said Niles has strong feelings about this case and asked for a speedy trial.
The judge ended the hearing to give Simon time to prepare his arguments. The bail hearing is expected to resume as early as next week.