Local man sentenced in shooting incident

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BENNINGTON - A man who shot himself and lied to police about it was given a jail sentence Tuesday, Oct. 1, for that and other criminal matters.

Donald Ely-Gardner, 28, of Manchester, was sentenced to serve between 20 months and eight years in jail after he pleaded guilty in Vermont Superior Court to five counts of violating an abuse prevention order, a felony count of theft of services, giving false information to police, and five counts of violating release conditions.

Shortly before the New Year, Manchester Police said Ely-Gardner showed up at the department with the aid of a friend, saying he had been shot in the chest by someone near the roundabout. Police learned he had in fact shot himself behind a building, which he admitted to later at Albany Medical Center in New York.

Ely-Gardner was scheduled to be arraigned the following day on felony domestic assault charges which he was ultimately acquitted of at a jury trial. At the trial, he was asked by a prosecutor why he shot himself.

Ely-Gardner replied that he did not know. While that case was pending, Ely-Gardner was charged with taking two cell phones from his employer, Hand Chevrolet, and racking up a large phone bill by calling a woman he had been ordered by the court not to speak with.

The state dropped nearly 100 counts of condition violations, a felony embezzlement charge, and two petit larceny charges which stemmed from the theft case. Ely-Gardner's attorney, Jeff Rubin, said his client has about four months of credit for time he has served and may be released early if he completes domestic abuse programming.


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