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Rutland Court Sets Jack Sawyer's Bail At $100,000

Ryan Mercer
Burlington Free Press, Pool
Jack Sawyer in court, Tuesday. Sawyer was granted bail with a number of stipulations.

Tuesday Jack Sawyer's bail was set at $100,000 after the Vermont Supreme Court overruled an initial decision to deny bail.

Sawyer is the young man accused of plotting to attack Fair Haven Union High School.

RELATED — On Issue Of Bail, Vt. Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Jack Sawyer [April 11]

Listen to the conversation between VPR reporters Liam Elder-Connors and Nina Keck.

The conditions of Sawyer's release

Judge Thomas Zonay setup a number of conditions of release if Sawyer makes bail. Those conditions include that Sawyer remain under the supervision of his father and reside in his father's home, that he not be allowed to own any weapons or have have access to a car, or the internet.

Sawyer would not be allowed anywhere near Fair Haven Union High School, or any other school without permission.

He was also told to stay away from a number of individuals including Fair Haven Union School Resource Officer Scott Alkinburgh and the young woman who initially told authorities that Sawyer was allegedly planning a shooting at the school.

RELATED — Witnesses Testify To Multiple 'Red Flags' In Thwarted Fair Haven School Shooting Plot [Feb. 27]

Does this mean Sawyer is released into the public?

Sawyer's father and the defense counsel are hoping he will be taken in as a patient at the Brattleboro Retreat and received psychiatric help.

Rutland County State's Attorney Rose Kennedy said that she would agree to that but she warned that sometimes the retreat is full and does not have beds available and her concern was what would happen to Sawyer if they can't take him in and provide treatment.

Update on the probable cause issue

There was an interesting twist in the case this week: Defense attorney Kelly Green had requested the court in Rutlandreviewits earlier probable cause determination in light of the supreme court ruling. But this week Judge Thomas Zonay reaffirmed his earlier ruling stating that he did find probable cause on each of the charges of attempt. Why is this significant?

Well, it is significant because basically, the judge disagreed with the Supreme Court ruling.

The Supreme Court justices last week stated that they did not feel there was sufficient or great enough evidence to show that Jack Sawyer had, in fact, attempted any of the crimes he was charged with.

And that, according to legal experts paved the way for this case to be dismissed, which the defense counsel has already motioned the judge to do.

Prosecutors are also trying to bring two additional misdemeanor charges against Sawyer.

RELATED — Can Intent Become A Crime? Fitting The Jack Sawyer Case Into Vermont Law [April 12]

Reactions in Fair Haven

After the Vermont Supreme Court ruled Sawyer couldn't be held without bail, residents in Fair Haven expressed concern over the possible release of Sawyer.

Andrea Ochs has two kids at Fair Haven Union High School.

Credit Ryan Mercer / Burlington Free Press, Pool
Burlington Free Press, Pool
Jack Sawyer's father, left, in the court Tuesday.

Ochs said she was at Tuesday’s bail hearing as a way to face the issue that’s been of such concern to their local school and community and hear first hand what sort of conditions Sawyer would have to follow if he's released.

“The biggest concern I’ll have is to see how the school works with the state police to keep our kids safe for the rest of the year - they’ve got prom coming up, senior trip and graduation," Ochs said.  "So there’ll have to be a way to not only assure the kids, but assure the rest of the community that they’re doing everything they can to keep them safe.”

In a letter, Addison-Rutland Supervisor Union Superintendent Brooke Farrell assured the community that the school was working with law enforcement to keep students safe.

One in five Vermonters is considered elderly. But what does being elderly even mean — and what do Vermonters need to know as they age? I’m looking into how aging in Vermont impacts living essentials such as jobs, health care and housing. And also how aging impacts the stuff of life: marriage, loss, dating and sex.
Liam is Vermont Public’s public safety reporter, focusing on law enforcement, courts and the prison system.
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