Troy Man Held Without Bail In Dog Shooting, Threatening

Open court

NEWPORT CITY — A Troy man is being held without bail pending an in-patient psychiatric evaluation to see if he is competent to stand trial on aggravated domestic assault involving a gun and other charges.

Vermont State Police on Friday arrested Michael Liberta, 42, of Troy, after police said he shot and killed a family dog for attacking a chicken, scaring his wife and children and resisting arrest.

Records from Orleans Superior Court show Liberta was held on $5,000 bail pending Monday’s arraignment where he pleaded not guilty to felony charges of aggravated domestic assault in the second degree by violating a court order and impeding a police officer.

He also pleaded not guilty to three misdemeanor charges of reckless endangerment, criminal threatening and a violation of an abuse prevention order.

Judge A. Gregory Rainville ordered Liberta held without bail for the psychiatric evaluation on his competency and sanity, records show. He can only be released into the custody of a court-approved responsible adult.

Rainville ordered Liberta to have no contact with and not harass his wife and three children.

Trooper Brian Connor stated in an affidavit that state police received a 911 call from Liberta on Friday at 11:26 a.m. saying he shot the dog because it killed a chicken. Police then received a call from one of the children complaining about the shooting and expressing fear that Liberta would shoot the children’s mother, Connor stated.

Police arrived to find Liberta agitated, Connor stated. He was not carrying a pistol at the time. Liberta made no direct threats to police, Connor stated.

They knew Liberta from past encounters, Connor stated. Liberta warned police on the phone that he would shoot any police officer who tells him what to do, Connor stated

Connor said it took some time during past incidents to calm Liberta down.

Meanwhile police and mental health workers went to talk to the child who called 911, who told police that she had the dog by its collar outside, Connor stated.

The girl said that Liberta began to unholster the pistol so “she panicked and let go of the dog’s collar” and Liberta shot the dog while it was five to seven feet away from her, Connor stated.

She ran down the driveway to call 911, while a brother saw Liberta threaten their mother, Connor stated. The mother said Liberta did not threaten her directly, but she fled into the woods just in case, Connor stated.

Liberta said that the family was upset he shot the dog, Connor stated.

Meanwhile Liberta became impatient waiting with police and started walking toward the house. Connor stated that police did not know if there were other firearms in the house and weren’t sure of Liberta’s intentions, so they stopped him from entering, Connor stated.

They restrained Liberta and put him in handcuffs, police said.

Police recovered the Glock pistol.

Liberta was under a temporary relief from abuse order involving the mother from the West Seneca Court in Erie County, New York State.

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