WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - A Springfield man who police had been seeking for several weeks after a pedestrian was stuck-up on “Dead Man’s Corner,” not far from the Springfield Shopping Plaza, was finally arrested this past week and appeared in court on Friday afternoon.
Jeffrey Matteson II, 23, a lifelong resident of Springfield, pleaded innocent to a felony charge of assault & robbery and was ordered held for lack of $5,000 bail but the judge said he will consider releasing Matteson temporarily to a secure drug treatment facility when a bed becomes available.
Westview Terrace resident Lance Rogers told police that he was headed home up Eaton Avenue on foot on the afternoon of November 29th when Matteson, whom Rogers recognized but did not know by name, walked up to him on the sharp corner in the road and pointed a black handgun at this chest.
Springfield Police Corporal Walter Morancy interviewed the badly shaken Rogers a short time later and said that Rogers told him he was so frightened that when the robber demanded money he “froze” to the point that the man had to reach into Rogers’ pockets to extract the two $20 bills he had on him.
Rogers explained that, while he didn’t know his assailant’s name, he had seen him earlier that same afternoon at the McDonald’s near the Springfield Shopping Plaza and he knew the name of the man’s girlfriend.
Using those clues, police were able to use surveillance video from the restaurant’s security cameras to identify Matteson as their suspect, Corporal Morancy wrote in an affidavit filed with the court.
Morancy wrote that when, several days later, he was able to reach Matteson by phone he was deliberately vague and said only that he wanted to discuss an “issue” that involved Rogers and Matteson.
“Matteson, without hesitation, stated that ‘I had the wrong guy’,” the corporal wrote in his report.
Police spent weeks looking for Matteson without any luck until Thursday when they were tipped off that he was back sitting inside the McDonalds. Officers quietly took up positions around the building before arresting Matteson without incident after he walked out a side door.
During Friday afternoon’s arraignment, Matteson’s court-appointed public defender, attorney Audrey Sandner, urged the court to allow Matteson to pursue treatment for opioids, explaining that Matteson had already made an appointment with a local doctor and is on the waiting list for the Serenity House rehab facility.
“He’s already taken a lot of steps forward to get the treatment he needs,” Sandner explained to Judge Timothy Tomasi.
Matteson, who also recently pleaded innocent to a drug-related charge in the Windham County court, faces a maximum potential penalty of up to 10 years in prison if he were to be convicted of the felony assault & robbery charge now pending against him.
Back in 2015, Matteson served three months in jail after he pled guilty to raising a false public alarm. Witnesses at the time said Matteson became irate during a visit to the emergency department at Springfield Hospital and pulled the fire alarm in the waiting room after he had been asked to leave.
Vermont News can be contacted at email@example.com