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Resisting arrest, suspects beat on cops in St. Johnsbury

By Guy Page,

Twice in four days, police officers in St. Johnsbury suffered violent assaults while apprehending suspects resisting arrest.

One of the suspects was released by a judge on Monday, May 13.

Vermont Superior Court (St. Johnsbury) Judge Michael Kainen repeat convicted felon John Stelzl, 35, of Morrisville to be treated for an eye injury after he pleaded innocent Monday to misdemeanor assault on a protected professional, the Caledonian-Record reports.

As reported in VDC Monday, St. J. Police Officer George Johnson reported that Stelzl resisted arrest Friday, May 10, gouged Johnson in the eye, tased him with Johnson’s taser, and was seeking to get his gun out of his holster when another cop helped Johnson subdue him. Johnson wrote in his report:

“Stelzl has a lengthy criminal record (50 pages long) to include 6 felony convictions and 30 misdemeanor convictions. These past convictions include drug crimes and violent crimes such as felony battery on officers and others. St. Johnsbury police have received past complaints about drug activity in this area.

“I drove into the parking area of the pavilion and Stelzl immediately left walking north. When I went north the male then changed directions, heading south. Stelzl then jaywalked in front of me. I informed Stelzl that he had committed the offense of Jaywalking and asked for his name. “Stelzl lied, stating his name was Taylor Hay. I exited my cruiser and Stelzl took off running. I caught up to him and grabbed him and informed him that he was being detained.

“Stelzl then fought. While fighting Stelzl, was informed that he was now under arrest. Stelzl was pepper sprayed, which he then wiped off and with the same hand gouged me in the eye.

“While fighting with Stelzl a crack pip fell out of his pocket. After numerous commands to stop fighting Stelzl was tased. Stelzl then ripped the taser from my hand, turned, it fired. The taser probes struck me in the leg causing my leg to go numb and me to fall.

“Stelzl continued to fight. Ofc. McKendrick Johnson arrived on scene. He later informed me that when he had arrived he observed Stelzl attempting to wrench my gun from my holster. Johnson assisted me in taking Stelzl into custody and Stelzl continued to fight but was eventually overpowered.”

The Caledonia County prosecutor sought $200 bail, but was refused by Kainen, who told him to get treatment for his eye injury and was expected to return for his next court appearance.

Sheriff’s deputy assaulted outside court house – The same day Kainen let Stelzl go free, Caledonia County Sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. Brian Tallmadge sustained a bloody beating to the face after trying to arrest a suspected wanted by an arrest warrant.

As the photo in the Caledonian-Record shows, Tallmadge suffered multiple lacerations and bruises to his face (as well as leg and arm injuries) in a fight with Christopher Marchese, 32, a resident of the Quality Inn in Rutland. Marchese had just left the courthouse after filing paperwork when Tallmadge, a court officer, learned from court officials he was wanted on an arrest warrant. He went outside and tried to arrest him, but the larger Marchese was able to resist and flee into a waiting car.

Sheriff James Hemond and others later took Marchese into custody without resistance at a St. Johnsbury home. Marchese was jailed. In the Caledonian-Record news report, Hemond commented on the repeated acts of violence on local police: “Two assaults on a police officer in less than a week. That’s scary.”


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