superior courthouse

The Superior Courthouse in Bennington County.

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BENNINGTON — Bennington Superior Court Judge Cortland Corsones held a status hearing on Monday in the case of a man who is accused of aggravated stalking with a deadly weapon — a pickup truck — and gross negligence while operating a motor vehicle in Manchester.

Clinton S. Messiter, 44, is charged with two felonies and one misdemeanor stemming from the Feb. 28 incident in which he allegedly chased and ran into the victim with his white Ford truck, knocking the victim to the ground, then chasing the victim with the pickup when he tried to escape in his car. The victim also told police that Messiter had a gun.

According to a police affidavit, the victim called 911 to tell them that someone was chasing him with a white pickup truck, then the caller changed his mind and hung up the phone. Police mapped the call and located the white pickup. The victim told police that Messiter is in a relationship with his niece, and that the family was all together after a relative had passed away. Allegedly, Messiter showed up at the door and was turned away by the victim. He then waited in a nearby driveway for the victim to leave the residence. That’s when he allegedly hit him with the pickup.

The victim explained to police that he hung up on the 911 call after his niece alerted someone in the victim’s car that she feared Messiter “would harm her and her life.”

Messiter was taken into custody without incident at his residence after a brief negotiation with the police. Police noted that Messiter “appeared to be heavily intoxicated on the phone.” He was released on a $5,000 surety bond on conditions including not making contact with the victim or family of the victim, no alcohol or firearms, and no driving between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. Messiter faces up to 22 years in prison and fines up to $20,000 if convicted on all charges.

Messiter has a known criminal history in Vermont and California. Vermont convictions include violations of conditions of release, false alarms and unlawful trespass. It was noted in the affidavit that Messiter has a known history of mental health problems, including suicidal and homicidal ideations.


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