Accused Georgia shooter returns to court

By Tom Benton

Staff Writer

The Facts

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‘Having him at the residence would not have prevented this.’

- Judge Gregory Rainville

ST. ALBANS — The prosecution is pressing to change the conditions of release for a Georgia man involved in an early January shooting.

Prosecutors are asking that Ethan Gratton, 27, be held in 24-hour curfew while awaiting trial on charges of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder, stemming from a shooting that took the life of David Hill and hospitalized Mark Brito with serious injuries.

Following the shooting, Gratton was held without bail until a mid-April ruling by Judge A. Gregory Rainville, who determined that Gratton was legally eligible for bail due to multiple factors. Gratton had no prior criminal record, had not posed a danger to society as a whole, Rainville wrote, and the incident in question is without witnesses, leaving the question of whether Gratton acted in self-defense open.

Rainville also wrote it was uncertain whether state prosecutors could prove Gratton acted with intent, an important factor in the charges, since Gratton sustained severe head trauma during a physical confrontation preceding the shooting.

Gratton has been released from custody, on multiple conditions, since Rainville’s decision, continuing to live with his parents in Georgia and finding a new job.

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  • MasterKota1912

    Ethan in high school was a happy easy going individual. He had at no point during our time together in high school showed any open hostility to anyone. I say let the boy go and get on with his life. This murder nonsense is a load of bull.

    • Keegan Howard

      I say lock him up for the rest of his life David is a cousin of mine and didn’t deserve to lose his life because this guy can’t grow up and take losing a fight like a man

      • MasterKota1912

        You mean by take a losing fight like a man by getting his brains dashed out? Yeah pretty sure losing that fight also meant would have lost his life and if that was the case the situation would be reversed with your cousin sitting where Ethan is and Ethan in a box six feet under.

    • Erica Marcelino Howard

      He’s not a boy. He’s a man. 27 years old. Who shot 2 men, killing one and and changing the life of the other forever. Move on? Why should he get to? His victims can’t.

      • MasterKota1912

        They can’t even establish whether or not he intended to shoot them plus there is compelling evidence that Ethan acted in self defense by shooting those two individuals. Truth is nobody knows what happened on that back road in Georgia besides Ethan and those other two people.

        • Erica Marcelino Howard

          I think intent is proven; five times, in the back…. but we will leave that up to the judge. Mr. Gratton’s injuries could have been inflicted in an number of ways, again – an issue to be determined in court. If only Mr. Gratton had “moved on” all of this could have been avoided.

  • L Brown

    He went and got a gun and shot them. I’m sure he was an easy going guy in high school. But on that day he was not. His mug shot hardly looks like he had his “brains dashed in”. Murder a load of bull? A man died at his hand and he shot another in the head. One does not just get on with his life without answering for that.

    • MasterKota1912

      He was an easy going guy, and I have seen the mugshot. When I look at his mugshot I don’t see a harden criminal if you want an example of that look at the POS who broke into a family’s home in Saint Albans and held them at gunpoint. That’s what a harden criminal looks like. Ethan’s face shows the struggle of whatever happened on that back road in Georgia. His injuries were so severe they had to get EMS to come to the state trooper barracks where they were holding him to give him medical treatment. Ethan has also kept good faith with the requirement of the court by complying with the conditions of his bail. Justice doesn’t care about emotion or biased based on preconceived notions about what happened that day. It only cares about facts and truth both of which are lacking in this case and even as the article states, “Rainville also wrote it was uncertain whether state prosecutors could prove Gratton acted with intent, an important factor in the charges, since Gratton sustained severe head trauma during a physical confrontation preceding the shooting.”

      Ethan will always live with the actions he took that day regardless of the circumstances in which they unfolded. One man is dead and the other hospitalized. If it was self-defense or murder has yet to be determined by the court. What is clear that a life was lost and I doubt that significance is wasted on Ethan.