WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - “I am a completely changed person,” a Vietnam veteran told the court this week as he struck a plea deal to avoid what had been the potential of a life sentence as a habitual offender for an alleged 2016 strong-arm kidnapping incident.
William “Wild Bill” Dalling, 61, formerly a resident of Springfield and Charlestown, New Hampshire, pled “no contest” to a felony count of aggravated disorderly conduct as well as to selling fentanyl and providing false information to police in exchange for a straight 18-month “to serve” sentence in jail.
Judge Timothy Tomasi agreed to give Dalling an extra five weeks before he has to report to begin serving his sentence so that he can complete a rehab program he has been participating in for over a month at the Veterans Administration Hospital.
Dalling’s defense attorney, Brice Simon, told the court that he had first gotten to know Dalling over a year ago when “he was clearly in difficult times” but Simon said that since Dalling has been attending the VA programs “he really feels this has changed his life.”
After the hearing on Wednesday Dalling, who served in the Navy’s SeaBees construction battalion during the Vietnam War, said that he was free from drugs and looking forward to moving somewhere else in the country once he finishes his sentence in Vermont later next year.
“I just want to get all this behind me and move on,” Dalling said, adding that although he used to be an avid motorcycle rider with the Vietnam Veterans motorcycle club, he was never, as police had suggested in the past, a member of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang.
Dalling was charged with kidnapping in late 2016 after a woman in her 50s reported that Dalling and two women had forced her out of her residence in Park Street in Springfield so that she could lead them to her daughter who supposedly owed one of the women money.
The putative victim told police that Dalling had driven the car while the other two women menaced her with knives. She said threats were allegedly made to kill her if the money was not forthcoming.
During this week’s hearing defense attorney Simon told the court that while Dalling was willing to plead “no contest” to the amended charge of aggravated disorderly conduct in connection with the 2016 case, “There were some strong factual disagreements as to what happened in that incident.”
In response, Windsor County State’s Attorney David Cahill assured the judge that his office had checked with the victim in the case and said the 18-month sentence the state negotiated as part of the deal “meets her expectations” for resolving the case.
The drug sales conviction that was also part of this week’s sentencing came about because of a bust in May of last year when detectives with the Vermont Drug Task Force caught Dalling selling four bags of heroin laced with fentanyl during one of their sting operations involving a cooperating informant.
Following the sentencing Dalling said he is now drug free because “I’ve been at the VA and it works,” adding, “I’m in a much better place now.”
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