Ludlow baby murder suspect will not be allowed out of jail to live at a gun shop while he awaits trial
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - Saying that she was worried about the potential for either a suicide attempt or an attack upon the witnesses in his second-degree murder case, a judge on Friday declined to let a Ludlow man accused of killing his girlfriend’s 11-month-old son out of jail in time for the holidays.
Tyler Pollender-Savery, 23, was brought back into the courthouse in White River Junction on Friday afternoon where his mother and step-father entreated the court to allow their son to return to their home in a neighboring town while he awaits his eventual trial for the death in January of little Karsen Rickert.
Pollender-Savery was just charged with Rickert’s murder less than two weeks ago at the conclusion of an investigation in which a medical examiner determined that the boy’s death had been caused by a deliberately inflicted smothering or strangulation and not some kind of freak accident, as the boy’s mother Abagail Wood had initially believed.
During Friday’s hearing, defense attorney Steven Howard asked Judge Elizabeth Mann to drop the hold-without-bail order she had imposed on December 10th after Pollender-Savery pleaded innocent to the murder charge.
“We are asking for him to be brought home, to be out of jail, under the supervision of his family in order to give him an opportunity to help me develop his defense,” Howard said.
Howard and Pollender-Savery’s parents took turns outlining a series of measures from gun safes to surveillance cameras and their own willingness to immediately call police which they said would keep their son safely on their property under constant curfew conditions and away from the cars in their auto repair shop and the over 80 firearms in their house and federally licensed gun shop even though both of those business are attached to their home by short breezeways.
“For all of the fear that he’s caused there’s never been one accusation made, not one arrest, not even one police call until this accusation arose,” Howard told the judge. “Now, all of the sudden out of the blue, people are claiming that he’s psychologically unstable. There’s no evidence for that anywhere. There’s no medical records, no psychological records,” to back that up, Howard argued.
Windsor County State’s Attorney David Cahill urged Judge Mann not to exercise her discretion to release Pollender-Savery ahead of his trial even as he expressed sympathy for the parents’ dilemma.
“Recognizing that they are coming from a genuine place, what is being asked of them – running a 24/7 police state at their home with constant supervision – is simply not realistic,” Cahill said.
Noting the home is just a short drive to neighboring Ludlow, Cahill suggested that the couple’s well-intentioned “safety plan” was not “enough to guarantee that the defendant is not going to have an eight minute window to do something terrible.”
In the end, Judge Mann agreed with Cahill, saying from the bench that while she “didn’t doubt the sincerity” of Pollender-Savery’s mother and step-father she was most concerned about the defendant’s own mental health.
“I understand the concerns of the parents and their belief in their son and his innocence,” Judge Mann began, saying the couple had “testified credibly here today that they would do all they can to secure the weapons and the vehicles on their property and to keep a watchful eye on their son. (But) I cannot say that the argument which has been presented addresses the primary underlying concern: that was the evidence of psychological instability over the course of the last year.”
The judge cited reports that were included in the police investigation about “threats that were made over the course of the year to coworkers and friends…evidence of harm to animals, which is of great concern…a reasonably credible allegation of pistol whipping another person (and) statements to others that he was going to be arrested for the (child’s) death and it was not going to end well for him.”
The judge also noted reports that as the investigation focused down on Pollender-Savery during the year “he began sleeping with a pistol and he was arrested carrying a loaded handgun.”
Bringing up the possibility of self-harm, the judge said she was responsible for protecting “not only the specific witnesses and the public at large but that also includes Mr. Pollender-Savery himself.”
“If his parents lived in a different setting we might be having a different analysis,” the judge said, but she characterized the couple’s mix of home-based businesses as “one that is fraught with access to weapons.”
“The precautions in place would not be sufficient – if he is serious about the threats that he made – then there is relatively easy access to weapons and vehicles,” the judge concluded, adding, “There are just too many concerns in light of that first concern which is the psychological one.”
Vermont News can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org