ST. ALBANS CITY — The attorney representing a man accused of trying to run over a Black man on his porch is calling for the attempted murder charge against his client to be dismissed.
In a motion filed May 6, defense attorney Steve Dunham claims the state has no case for the attempted murder charge because “there was no possibility of death and the actions fell short of what was necessary to accomplish that result.” Judge Howard VanBenthuysen took the motion to dismiss under advisement following a hearing on the evidence Monday and will issue a decision at a future date.
Anthony Mason, 27, has been held without bail at Northwest State Correctional Facility after pleading not guilty on May 6 to charges of first-degree attempted murder, disorderly conduct with a hate crime enhancement, reckless operation of a vehicle and two counts of unlawful mischief.
According to an affidavit filed in the case, witnesses say Mason showed up shortly after 9 a.m. at the home of Michael Wilson in Richford. Mason allegedly yelled racial slurs at Wilson, who is Black, hit Wilson’s dirt bike, tore up Wilson’s lawn with his truck and attempted to drive over Wilson and his dog while they were standing on the deck. Following interviews with Wilson and Mason, investigators say Mason believed Wilson was sleeping with his girlfriend, according to court records.
Mason told police he yelled at Wilson as he drove by the residence, turned around and drove his truck into Wilson’s dirt bike, according to the affidavit. Mason told police that Wilson ran out of the house and struck the passenger window of the truck while holding a gun, and that he heard a gunshot before driving off, according to court records.
In addition to witness statements claiming the driver of a truck was shouting threats and racial epithets, photos of the crime scene were shared during Monday’s hearing that showed damage to Wilson’s porch and property.
“Given the willfulness and purposefulness of the act … Mr. Wilson would not be safe if Mr. Mason was released,” said Deputy State’s Attorney John Lavoie during Monday’s hearing.
Lavoie noted that Mason has 15 misdemeanor convictions against him, and has violated probation and court orders in the past.
“Given that this is a life penalty offense, the presumption is against release, and in favor of continuing to hold Mr. Mason,” Lavoie said.
Defense attorney Robert Katims said there is “a lack of evidence” to support the charge of attempted murder with regards to intent. He noted that aside from Wilson, none of the other sworn witness statements identify Mason as the driver of the truck that ran into Wilson’s porch.
Katims noted that 14 of the previous convictions against Mason were driving offenses, with one domestic assault case. He proposed that Mason be released to live with his mother, step-father and younger brother in Jeffersonville under strict conditions.
“We believe if the court were to impose strict conditions of release that would be sufficient to ensure that the community is safe pending litigation in this case,” Katims said.
During testimony Monday, Mason’s mother, Kelly Pecor, said she works limited hours in a position at a business near her home. Pecor said while she and her son “have a great relationship,” she would call authorities if Mason were to violate the conditions of his release, noting that she had done so with one of her other children.
“I believe in tough love,” she said.
Lavoie noted that the domestic assault conviction against Mason involved the same woman involved in the case at hand.
“Our concern is the ability of a parent to control an adult child, particularly when that person has a history of assaulting the person that is at the basis of this current case,” Lavoie said.