Richford: Stories conflict in stabbing

Police sort out Sunday incident

Michelle Monroe

By Michelle Monroe

Executive Editor

The Facts

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ST. ALBANS — Witnesses have offered police conflicting accounts of what happened at a River Street party in Richford Sunday night at which a 19-year-old was stabbed and his ex-girlfriend subsequently charged with attempted manslaughter.

Judge Martin Maley reduced the bail for Caitlyn Fregeau, 20, of Enosburg, who is accused of stabbing Trevor Sweet, of Richford, to $100,000 from $150,000. If she manages to make bail, her conditions of release require that she be under 24-hour curfew and have no contact with the victim.

All witnesses agree Fregeau and her current boyfriend, Tanner Hart, 20, attended the same party as Sweet Sunday night. Hart, who now lives in Essex with his sister, grew up in Richford, as did Fregeau.

Sweet told police he was “out back” by himself at the party when a car pulled up and Fregeau got out, began chasing him and stabbed him in the back. She then got into the car with Hart, who was the driver, and drove away.

Sweet said he pulled the knife out of his back and walked out front to ask that someone call 911. The knife was found on the ground by another person who attended the party.

Hart and Fregeau’s accounts differed from Sweet’s.

Hart told police the couple had been at the party for about three hours without trouble, when an incident occurred with Sweet, Hart and another man. Hart and Fregeau left following that, but returned with Hart’s father and sister. Hart told police he hoped his family members, who live in Berkshire, would help him convince Sweet and another man to leave him alone.

Fregeau reported that when they arrived at the party, “the crowd started assaulting them and then she noticed Sweet watching in the corner and she ran after him and he hit her in the face,” Det. Sgt. Michael Aamodt reported in his affidavit.

In her interview, Fregeau told Aamodt she struck back at Sweet and when he “was facing away from her she snapped and stabbed him.”

She then made it back to the car and left with Hart and his family.

Hart, in his statement to police said he left the party to get his father after an incident with Sweet and another man, Kaleb Lavallee, 17. According to Hart, Lavallee had boasted of outrunning police earlier in the day on his four-wheeler. Hart said he called Lavallee an “idiot” for doing so.

Hart claimed Lavallee then shoved him before hitting him on his broken cheekbone. Sweet then came over and smashed the rain guard on the driver’s side of Hart’s vehicle, Hart told police.

The cheekbone had been broken in a previous fight with Sweet.

Hart said his father tried to talk with Lavallee, Hart told police, “but suddenly it turned into a large brawl and he stated people were hitting him and his car,” states the affidavit. The car was reportedly heavily damaged with a large crack in the windshield.

After getting his father up from the ground, Hart said he left with his family and Fregeau. He took his father and sister home, then he and Fregeau went to her mother’s house in Enosburg.

Fregeau was crying and kept saying she was defending herself, he told police, adding that he had heard at the party about someone was being stabbed.

They then decided to go to Essex to where Hart was living. During the trip, Hart said he reached speeds of over 100 mph on Route 105, catching the attention of a state trooper, but not stopping when the trooper attempted to pull him over.

After reaching his sister’s house in Essex, Hart said he intended to walk to the Essex Police Department and surrender. However, Essex police, who were on the lookout for Hart’s vehicle, spotted their arrival in Essex and came to the house to arrest them before he could.

When arrested, Fregeau and Hart had fresh bruises on their faces, police noted.

Hart told police Sweet began harassing him after he started dating Fregeau, which had culminated in a fight two and a half weeks ago. Hart told police a third man, Lavallee, had instigated the fight by texting Sweet and telling him Hart wanted to fight.

At that time, Hart and Sweet met in Montgomery at the recreation center near the river walk. Sweet allegedly broke Hart’s cheekbone, an injury police noted was still visible during his interview.

Fregeau, who has no criminal record has pleaded not guilty, to attempted manslaughter and Hart is being charged as an accessory after the fact. Hart also was charged with careless and negligent operation for speeding on Route 105.