Gratton back in court

State to make case for change in conditions of release

Tom Benton

By Tom Benton

Staff Writer

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ST. ALBANS — The man allegedly responsible for a January shooting in Georgia was in court yesterday for the first time since he was granted bail.

Ethan Gratton, 27, faces a charge of second-degree murder and another of attempted second-degree murder for a shooting on Georgia Mountain Road in early January. David Hill was fatally wounded; Mark Brito was hospitalized in critical condition.

But Judge A. Gregory Rainville determined Gratton was eligible for bail in mid-April, after a lengthy hearing on the matter three months earlier.

Rainville’s decision cited a multitude of unknowns in the case. The incident in question was without witnesses. Gratton suffered a fractured nose, a tooth snapped in half and pressed toward the roof of his mouth and possibly a concussion, seemingly leaving the question of whether Gratton acted with intent, as well as whether, and to what extent, he may have been provoked, wide open.

Rainville noted in his decision that “the evidence shows that [Gratton] is not generally a violent person” — Gratton has no prior convictions, or noted history of violence — “and that in the commission of the crime itself [Gratton] did not pose a danger to society at large.”

Bail was immediately posted, and Gratton was released into his parents’ custody. But at a status conference in Franklin County Superior Court yesterday morning, State’s Attorney Jim Hughes said the State is not prepared to drop the issue of Gratton’s release — specifically, the conditions thereof.

Hughes said the State expected a hearing on those conditions — not to use or possess regulated drugs, alcohol or firearms and deadly weapons, and not to contact Brito — to “outline what we’re asking for and why.”

Rainville said the court will set a date for the hearing. Hughes said the State expects to argue for 30-45 minutes.

Rainville said he wanted to schedule a status conference on the case every 60-90 days. “In these types of cases, you generally want an update every 60-90 days, just to make sure things are moving forward,” he said.

The court set a status and pre-trial conference for the end of July to “firm up” a timetable for the case moving forward.