BARRE — A St. Johnsbury man is facing charges for robbing a Cabot man at gunpoint and tying him up last June.
Nocholas J. Johnson, 31, pleaded not guilty to assault and robbery with a weapon, burglary and second degree unlawful restraint, all felonies, in Washington County criminal court in Barre on Thursday. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison and a $26,000 fine.
According to Vermont State Police affidavits, Johnson went to a Route 215 residence around 1:30 a.m. on June 15 last year and knocked on the door asking for assistance with car trouble. When one of the residents opened the door Johnson, who was holding a rifle, forced his way inside and according to the affidavit said, “Give me all your money or I’ll blow you away.”
The man then gave Johnson $700 in cash, and Johnson tied the man up in a bedroom with extension cords before driving away, the police said. Johnson was said to be wearing a camouflage hunting jacket and pants and a camouflage ski mask, which he had cut holes out of for his eyes and mouth.
After a news release was sent out about the robbery, Johnson’s girlfriend contacted state police to say she believed Johnson was responsible. She told state police she saw Johnson dress in camouflage, including the mask, and leave around midnight the night of the incident. When she asked Johnson where he was going, Johnson told her he was going to “steal some (marijuana) plants.”
The girlfriend told state police she found a garbage bag containing the camouflage outfit in the trash two days after the incident and handed the clothing over to state police. At the time of the interview, the girlfriend was staying at a motel out of fear that Johnson would see the press release and make the assumption that she would know it was him that committed the crime.
The girlfriend told state police she and Johnson knew the alleged victim and the man’s daughter had confided in her and Johnson that the man had molested her in the past, which had angered Johnson. The girlfriend told state police she heard Johnson say the alleged victim was going to “get what was coming to him.”
When state police talked to Johnson, he asked what the penalty would be for someone who committed the crime and asked state police several times what they wanted to know. State police say Johnson denied having any involvement in the home invasion and said he did not believe state police had enough evidence to link him to the crime.
Johnson has a history of violent behavior. He has simple assault convictions in 2005 and 2001 and a disorderly conduct conviction in 2000, along with eight other criminal convictions.
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