BENNINGTON -- A Manchester man will be placed on probation and be under a suspended sentence for reporting false murders to police in 2011.

James Eaton Jr., 52, pleaded no contest on Sept. 4 to a felony charge of identity theft. The state dropped two misdemeanor charges of giving false information to a police officer, and false alarm. He was arraigned on those charges in November 2011 and has been held since.

Eaton's sentence, which was handed down Monday by Judge Cortland Corsones, involves a two- to three-year suspended sentence with 15 months to serve, which he has been given credit for. His probation period will be for three years, during which time he must follow the directions of mental health professionals.

According to police, in November 2011 Eaton called them saying he was another man and claimed to have killed his wife and their two young children. He directed police to the home of the man in question, who told police he had no children and his wife was not home. The man said he was not the one to call police and report anything.

The man told the Banner in an interview that he was placed in handcuffs by police, had their weapons pointed at him, and was held for about 20 minutes while they determined nothing was wrong.

Police investigated further and determined it was likely Eaton who made the call. He told police he often has periods where he does not remember his actions but admitted the voice on the recorded call sounded like his.


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