Ludlow man denies brandishing gun during dispute in restaurant kitchen

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - A recently fired employee allegedly pulled a gun on the owner of Mr. Darcy’s restaurant in Ludlow restaurant Sunday afternoon after showing up unannounced at his former workplace.

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    Seth Teaster, 24, of Ludlow pleaded innocent to a felony charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and to an accompanying misdemeanor count of reckless endangerment before he was released on a series of pre-trial conditions, including court orders to make an appointment with a licensed drug and alcohol counselor.

    Teaster had gone to the restaurant looking to speak with his ex-girlfriend, who still works there, about a utility bill, Ludlow Police Officer Catherine Warner wrote in an affidavit filed with the court.

    After Teaster walked into the kitchen and briefly confronted the woman in the middle of her work, Mr. Darcy’s owner Mark Williams stepped forward and told Teaster to leave, according to witnesses who told police that Teaster immediately became irate.

    When told he would have to go, the report said Teaster allegedly responded “Oh yeah?  Look what I have here!” at which point, Williams told police, Teaster pulled a silver semi-automatic handgun from his waistband and pointed it at Williams before walking out the back door into the parking lot.

    Williams told police that when he went to lock the door Teaster pulled the door open again and Williams’ hand slipped off the doorknob.

    “(Teaster) pulled the handgun again at Williams, with an outstretched arm, approximately two feet from Williams’ head,” Officer Warner wrote.

    Warner said she viewed security camera video that clearly showed “the defendant with the handgun in his hand and waving it around, appearing agitated.” 

    A short time later police encountered Teaster walking down the road with a friend and both men were detained at gunpoint.

    Warner said that a search of Teaster and his backpack failed to find any sort of firearm and Teaster “denied ever having a gun and (said) that he doesn’t even own one.”

    Teaster claimed that Williams might have seen him holding his sunglasses during the encounter and mistaken those for a silver semi-automatic handgun, according to the affidavit.

    “I asked the defendant if he was aware that Mr. Darcy’s has video cameras placed in their kitchen and rear door,” Officer Warner noted, writing that at that point Teaster “became quiet and didn’t want to talk anymore.”

    During Tuesday afternoon’s hearing at the courthouse in White River Junction, Windsor County Deputy State’s Attorney Glenn Barnes asked Judge Timothy Tomasi to hold Teaster without bail, saying “The state would submit that the evidence of guilt is great.  Officer Warner actually observed a security video which captured Mr. Teaster pulling a gun and pointing it at Mr. Williams in the middle of an argument.”

    Teaster’s court-appointed public defender, attorney Rachel Thompson, noted that no gun was found and that Teaster, who has two small children he sees regularly, has been a resident of Vermont for over a a decade.

    Thompson also pointed to Teaster’s minor criminal record which consists of a 2011 marijuana possession conviction in New Hampshire and a pending disorderly conduct charge for allegedly throwing lit firecrackers into businesses at the Springfield Shopping Plaza two years ago.

    Judge Tomasi said from the bench that “The court is willing to accept that the evidence of guilt is great,” adding, “These events are very concerning,” however, Tomasi declined to hold Teaster without bail, saying that tight pre-trial release conditions should be sufficient to protect the public.

    Teaster faces a maximum potential penalty of up to 6 years in jail if he were to be convicted of both charges that are now pending against him.

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