Bail hearing held for Georgia shooter

Judge asks for more information

By Tom Benton

Staff Writer

Just
The Facts

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‘Something happened we don’t know about.’

- Judge A. Gregory Rainville

ST. ALBANS CITY — Ethan Gratton is charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder for a shooting in Georgia on Jan. 2. Attorneys spent more than five hours in Franklin County Superior Court Wednesday making cases for why Gratton should or shouldn’t be released on bail. But Judge A. Gregory Rainville wants more.

Rainville refused to rule on the matter without further evidence, such as the results of Gratton’s medical examination after his arrest. He said evidence provided so far is “just one little snapshot” of this case’s factual basis, and that “an awful lot of unknowns” remain, specifically regarding the fight that prompted the incident.

Rainville pointed out no one witnessed the fight, and that the injuries Gratton sustained from the altercation — a fractured nose, a tooth snapped in half and pressed toward the roof of his mouth, even a possible concussion — are unusual. “Something happened we don’t know about,” Rainville said.

He also said the fact that Gratton could now face life in prison despite having absolutely no prior criminal record is equally unusual. “That rarely happens,” Rainville said.

Gratton’s defense attorneys, Steve Dunham and Rosie Chase, supplied evidence that Gratton suffered a concussion in the fight before the shooting. Pam Gratton, Ethan’s mother, testified that Ethan suffered a migraine headache after the incident, which grew to the point that he almost constantly vomited during his time at the Vermont State Police (VSP)’s St. Albans barracks, to which he transported after his arrest. Pam said VSP Detective Sergeant Angela Baker, who collected evidence at the crime scene and joined Gratton at the VSP barracks prior to Pam’s arrival, told her that Ethan had vomited several times before Pam’s arrival, and Pam told the court yesterday that Ethan did not stop vomiting until the lights were turned off. Headaches and light sensitivity are common concussion symptoms.

Rainville pointed out evidence of concussion could affect an argument of intent. “You suffer an injury that results in concussion, you struggle to think,” he said. “That doesn’t necessarily justify picking up a gun.”

For a full account of the hearing, pick up a copy of Thursday’s Messenger or subscribe to our digital edition.