Diaz ordered not to destroy any records

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copyright the Chronicle August 9, 2017

by Elizabeth Trail

 

NEWPORT — Former Coventry Town Clerk and Treasurer Cynthia Diaz has been ordered not to destroy any more town records or documents and to hand over any still in her possession.

“Defendant has admitted under oath to having destroyed at least some electronic documents,” Orleans Superior Court Judge Robert Bent said in a written order issued on August 3. “To be clear, defendant may not destroy any document or file.”

He ordered Ms. Diaz to turn over all written and electronic town records in her possession by August 20 in preparation for another hearing on August 25.

In court on August 1 for a hearing in the town’s civil suit against her, Ms. Diaz admitted to throwing away a thumb drive containing town financial records after she left office.

“Generally in litigation, we don’t destroy documents,” Judge Bent told Ms. Diaz at the time. “It leads to questions … it shifts the question to the person who destroyed it.”

Ms. Diaz’ management of the documents in her keeping has been a recurring theme ever since forensic accountant Jeff Graham’s audit last year shone the spotlight on irregularities in Coventry’s financial records.

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Diaz says she threw thumb drive away

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copyright the Chronicle August 2, 2017

 

by Elizabeth Trail

 

NEWPORT — Former Coventry Town Clerk and Treasurer Cynthia Diaz said in court on Tuesday that she has destroyed at least one thumb drive, possibly the one the select board and auditor Jeff Graham have been looking for.

Ms. Diaz was in Orleans Superior Court for yet another hearing in the civil suit that the town filed against her last December. The suit asked, among other things, for the return of town records in Ms. Diaz’ possession.

“I was no longer in office, I didn’t need it any more,” Ms. Diaz told Judge Robert Bent when he asked about the fate of the removable computer storage that she is alleged to have used to carry work back and forth from the Coventry town office to her home computer.

“I threw it away,” Ms. Diaz said. “It was mine, and I was no longer employed by the town.”

“Generally in litigation, we don’t destroy documents,” Judge Bent told her. “It leads to questions … it shifts the question to the person who destroyed it.”

Initially, it didn’t sound like Ms. Diaz was talking about the same drive that the select board has been hunting for the past year or more.

Ms. Diaz said that all she had on the drive was an Excel spreadsheet and the template she used to create receipts, adding that she overwrote the information as she recorded new transactions that came through the office.

“It wasn’t a running spreadsheet,” she said.

Judge Bent interrupted her to put her under oath.

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Accused murderer questions lawyer

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copyright the Chronicle March 16, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT – A breach between an accused murderer and his lawyer was apparently healed by a talk from Judge Robert Bent.

Jeffrey M. Ray, 52, of Brownington sent a handwritten note to the clerk in the Criminal Division of Orleans Superior Court on February 26 to say he and St. Johnsbury attorney David Sleigh met that day and had “a breakdown with our communication.”

He asked that he be allowed to find a new lawyer.

On May 26, 2015, Mr. Ray pled innocent to first degree murder in the shooting death of Rick Vreeland, 53, also of Brownington, and his former wife’s husband.  Judge Timothy Tomasi ordered Mr. Ray held without bail.

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Shooter in O’Hagan killing sentenced to 23 to 50 years

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Michael Norrie sits at the defense table during a recess at his sentencing hearing. Photos by Joseph Gresser

Michael Norrie sits at the defense table during a recess at his sentencing hearing. Photos by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle December 9, 2015

by Joseph Gresser

ST. JOHNSBURY — The man who admitted firing the shot that killed Mary Pat O’Hagan will spend at least 22 years in prison. Judge Robert Gerety, sitting in the Caledonia Criminal Division of Superior Court on December 3, accepted the plea agreement worked out between Michael Norrie, 25, of Sheffield, and the state.

His sentence calls for a 23-to-50-year term, all but 23 years of which will be suspended. Mr. Norrie will be credited with time already served, about one year, according to Caledonia County State’s Attorney Lisa Warren.

In July Mr. Norrie pled guilty to burglary, kidnapping, and first-degree murder in the slaying of Mrs. O’Hagan, a 78-year-old Sheffield resident. The sentencing agreement was put forward at that time, but Judge Robert Bent, who was serving in Caledonia County, asked for a pre-sentence investigation before approving the deal.

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Norrie pleads guilty to O’Hagan murder

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Michael Norrie is brought into court.  He pled guilty to murdering Mary Pat O’Hagan.  Photo by Todd Wellington courtesy of the Caledonian-Record

Michael Norrie is brought into court. He pled guilty to murdering Mary Pat O’Hagan. Photo by Todd Wellington courtesy of the Caledonian-Record

copyright the Chronicle July 22, 2015

by Joseph Gresser

ST. JOHNSBURY — The man who pulled the trigger admitted his role in the murder of Mary Pat O’Hagan Tuesday. Michael Norrie, 24, of Sheffield stood in the courtroom of the Criminal Division of Caledonia County Superior Court and pled guilty to burglary, kidnapping, and first degree murder in Mrs. O’Hagan’s death in 2010.

His plea was part of an agreement with prosecutors that, if accepted by Judge Robert Bent, will see Mr. Norrie spend 23 years of a 23-year-to-50-year sentence in prison. When released he will be on indefinite probation unless released by the court, the agreement states.

First degree murder carries a penalty of up to…

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