Man held after alleged rifle threat

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BENNINGTON — A Pownal man accused of threatening a woman with a rifle on Thursday morning is being held without bail.

Christopher M. Brown, 33, was on parole when he allegedly threatened to shoot a woman with a .308 caliber during an altercation at a residence on Lincoln Street in Pownal, according to police. Brown is being charged as a habitual offender because he has been convicted of three or more felonies, meaning prosecutors could argue for a maximum sentence up to life in prison.

Brown pleaded not guilty in Vermont Superior Court Bennington Criminal Division on Thursday to felony first degree aggravated domestic assault with a prior conviction and misdemeanor counts of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and operating a vehicle with a suspended license for first offense DUI.

Judge David A. Howard ordered Brown be held without bail pending a weight of evidence hearing. That hearing will determine whether Brown can have bail set and, if so, in what amount and what conditions of release he will be subject to, or if he should remain held without the right to bail pending trial.

Troopers and Bennington County Sheriff Deputies responded to the Burdick Mobile Home Park just before 8 a.m. Thursday, according to a court affidavit by Vermont State Police. A 36-year-old woman told police that Brown had threatened to shoot her with a .308 caliber rifle.

Both the rifle and Brown were found in separate residences on Sunflower Street occupied by relatives, police said.

Brown has a total of five felony and 17 misdemeanor convictions, according to court documents.

Brown pleaded guilty in the same court in January 2015 to a charge of second degree aggravated domestic assault; he was sentenced to six to 48 months

A hearing to review the weight of evidence, bail and conditions had yet to be scheduled on Thursday.

Reach staff writer Edward Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111 or @edamon_banner.

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