Farm laborer charged with assault
CORNWALL — A former Cornwall farm worker has pleaded innocent in Chittenden Superior Court, criminal division, to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and other charges stemming from his alleged attacks on two fellow laborers on July 7.
Elias Lopez-Ulloa, 36, is charged with two felony counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a felony count of obstructing justice, and a misdemeanor count of simple assault. He was ordered held, for lack of $10,000 bail, at the Northwest State Correctional Facility following his July 8 arraignment, according to court records.
Lopez-Ulloa also faces deportation to his native Mexico through U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as he is allegedly in this country illegally, according to a court affidavit filed by Vermont State Police Senior Trooper Justin Busby, who investigated the case.
It was at around 10 a.m. on July 7, while conducting speed enforcement on Route 22A, that Busby was approached by Cornwall farmer Mike Pyle, who reported “having issues” with one of his farmhands and added he might need state police present while firing the individual, according to the affidavit.
“Pyle informed me that the farmhand he was going to fire has disrupted the work productivity at his farm … The other farmhands refused to sleep in the house until this farmhand left the farm,” Busby reported.
Busby travelled to the farm on Peet Road later that morning and was told by Pyle that Lopez-Ulloa had “threatened to kill both (of the other) farmhands if he had to leave,” according to the court affidavit.
Busby said he placed Lopez-Ulloa under arrest and escorted him to his cruiser. One of the farmhands then retrieved a knife from a piece of farm equipment that had been hidden there by one of the victims, according to the affidavit.
One of the victim farmhands alleged that around two weeks prior, Lopez-Ulloa had been drunk and “started a fight” after being confronted about allegedly stealing food, according to court records. Lopez-Ulloa allegedly punched his accuser several times, and then allegedly entered the man’s room later that evening and held a knife to his throat while punching him again, according to the affidavit.
The second farmhand alleged that at around 1 a.m. on July 7, an intoxicated Lopez-Ulloa attacked him with a knife, according to court records.
“(Lopez-Ulloa) grabbed a knife off a table and lunged at (the farmhand) in an attempt to stab (him) in the chest,” the affidavit states. “(The victim) dodged the knife attack and had to use a chair to hold back (Lopez-Ulloa) from stabbing him and (the other farmhand).”
Lopez-Ulloa then allegedly threatened to kill the two farmhands if he got fired or if they went to police, making a slashing motion across his throat to illustrate his point, according to the court affidavit.
Lopez-Ulloa denied any wrongdoing and told police that he had been “drinking at his house and some guy showed up and was bothering him. (He) advised that he wanted to be left alone (that night) and went to bed,” according to court records.
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