BURLINGTON – The defense for a Williston man charged in criminal court with killing five teenagers from Central Vermont in a wrong-way fiery crash on Interstate 89 has turned over to prosecutors his records from the Howard Center, a mental health facility in Burlington.
The state had issued a subpoena to the Howard Center requesting all records involving Steven D. Bourgoin, 38, of Williston.
“Defense counsel has now provided those records to the State,” Chittenden County Deputy State’s Attorney Susan Hardin said in a motion withdrawing the request.
The surrendering of the records resulted in the cancellation of a scheduled hearing Friday in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington.
A lawyer for the Howard Center had filed an objection to the release of the documents to the prosecution. Attorney O. Whit Smith said he thought compliance with the request would be unreasonable and believed state law precluded the release.
Attempts to reach Smith were unsuccessful.
Smith said the state wanted records that included when Dr. Sally Steingard conducted a screening of Bourgoin on Oct. 14, 2016 while hospitalized in Burlington following the fatal car crash. Steingard checked Bourgoin the same day he was arraigned in a hospital conference room converted to a temporary courtroom.
Bourgoin’s sanity will be a key issue at the upcoming trial.
Defense lawyer Robert Katims has indicated his expert witness believes Bourgoin was insane at the time of the crash and now the prosecution’s own expert witness has come to the same conclusion.
Dr. David Rosmarin, of McLean Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, is the expert retained by the defense, while Dr. Reena Kapoor of Yale School of Medicine in Connecticut is the expert retained by the state.
Katims said he was told last month the state was not calling Kapoor and later learned she sided with the defense. Kapoor conducted three interviews with Bourgoin and reviewed voluminous medical and prison records before reaching her insanity conclusion, records show.
State’s Attorney Sarah George now hopes her office can use Dr. Nancy Shea Cotton, a Burlington psychologist. Her deposition is scheduled for next week, George said.
Katims has asked the Vermont Superior Court to issue a subpoena to compel the testimony of Kapoor at both a deposition in Connecticut and at Bourgoin’s trial.
Jury selection for Bourgoin is scheduled to begin on April 29 for five counts of second degree murder. He also is charged with single counts of reckless driving and driving a marked Williston police cruiser without consent.
Bourgoin has pleaded not guilty to the charges and remains detained at the Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans.
Eli Brookens, 16, of Waterbury; Janie Chase Cozzi, 15, of Fayston; Liam Hale, 16, of Fayston; Mary Harris, 16, of Moretown; and Cyrus Zschau, 16, of Moretown died in the fiery crash about 11:55 p.m. Oct. 8, 2016.
The teens were returning home from a concert at Higher Ground in South Burlington. Four victims attended Harwood Union High School in Duxbury, while Cozzi had transferred to Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire.
Bourgoin was raised with his brother in Rutland, where their father, Jack, served as the high school athletic director.
If convicted, Bourgoin faces 20 years to life sentence on each homicide charge.
The state has said Bourgoin was speeding, driving the wrong way on I-89 in Williston and had high levels of THC – the active ingredient in marijuana – in his blood when he slammed into the teens about 11:50 p.m. Oct. 8, 2016.
Bourgoin also had lower amounts of other drugs, including Fentanyl, Norfentanyl and Midazolam, his drug report showed.
Any level of THC in a driver in Vermont is against the law.
State police have estimated Bourgoin was driving at 79 miles per hour. The teens became trapped in the 2004 Volkswagen Jetta, which burst into flames, police said.
Bourgoin then stole a Williston Police cruiser from an officer who was attending to the injured, police said. He made a U-turn on I-89 when seeing police and returned at a high rate of speed to the crash site, officials said. He then demolished the Williston cruiser by running into the wreckage from the first crash at an estimated speed of 107 mph, police said.
The trial could take up to four weeks, court officials have said.
This story has been updated to correct the medical affiliation of Dr. David Rosmarin.