Crime News

Local man involved in shooting at Texas Falls faces gun charge

BURLINGTON — An Addison County man, who officials say shot his girlfriend during a picnic in Hancock in August, late last week pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court to being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
Brian Warner, 47, has felony convictions, including sexual assault and burglary, court records show. He appeared briefly in federal court by phone from the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield to enter his plea Friday.
Chief Judge Geoffrey W. Crawford ordered Warner held until Wednesday when a hearing was scheduled on a motion by prosecutors for the defendant to be held pending trial.
The victim, Lynn Lemay, 45, reported she was shot in the leg accidently on Aug. 1, but she didn’t seek medical attention immediately because she knew Warner would get into legal trouble, Vermont State Police said.
Lemay eventually went to Porter Medical Center in Middlebury to have her leg injury checked on Aug. 7. She told Middlebury police about the shooting at the Texas Falls Recreation Area on Route 125 in Hancock, records show.
Vermont State Police, who joined the investigation, later got directions from Lemay to where they could find the 9-mm handgun with a loaded high-capacity magazine at the Fort Cassin Fishing Access Area in Ferrisburgh.
State police never issued a news release telling the public about the shooting.
If convicted, Warner faces up to 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.
A federal grand jury in Burlington on Sept. 17 indicted Warner on the felony gun charge, but the court records were sealed until Sept. 25 — one day after Middlebury police arrested him on the federal warrant.
Middlebury Police Sgt. Jason Covey said town officers responded to a motor vehicle complaint at a Creek Road business about 6:15 p.m. on Sept. 24 and during the investigation learned about the pending warrant. Warner was turned over to the Addison County Sheriff’s Department to be transported to a state prison.
Warner told investigators he paid $300 for the firearm and ammo with the idea Lemay would use it for protection, State Police Detective Sgt. Michael Notte reported. Warner said the receipt showed the handgun was sold to Lemay, but he paid for it, Notte wrote.
Warner confirmed Lemay’s statement that the shooting went unreported right away in an effort to avoid him going to prison, Notte said.
The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted by tracing the firearm.
State Police Cpl. Justin Busby contacted Vermont Field Sports in Middlebury and learned the gun was initially sold to Kori Martell of Salisbury on June 4, 2018.
Prosecutors say they want Warner detained because they believe he is a danger to the community and is a risk to flee. They note he is charged with a crime of violence and there is a fear he will fail to return to court. Police listed him as a transient and said he had no known address as of August.
U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy was expected to consider the detention request.
Prosecutors in a court filing also noted Warner has cases of failures to appear for court hearings and at least one violation of probation that resulted in him being sent to prison.

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