BARRE — Representation continues to be an issue for convicted kidnapper and domestic abuser Harley Breer Jr.
Breer, 50, faces felony charges of kidnapping, first-degree aggravated domestic assault and second-degree unlawful restraint. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in September 2018 in Washington County criminal court in Barre. If convicted, Breer faces a sentence of life in prison because the state is seeking habitual offender status due to Breer’s numerous prior felony convictions. He is being held without bail at Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield.
Breer is facing probation violations for the criminal conduct alleged in September 2018. He has denied that violation.
In May 2017, Breer, while representing himself, entered into a plea agreement and was sentenced to 20 to 45 years to serve, all suspended with credit for time served, and placed on probation for 45 years on a felony count of second-degree aggravated domestic assault and two misdemeanor counts of disturbing the peace by phone.
According to court records, Breer beat a woman in November 2011 and left threatening voice messages on her phone. He was also accused of stealing her car and going on the run before being captured in New Hampshire.
He previously spent eight years in prison after being convicted in 1999 in a high-profile kidnapping case.
According to court records for his latest charges, in September 2018, Breer grabbed a woman he had been seeing and slammed her head into the center console of his truck about three times in Marshfield. She told police she and Breer were driving around looking for bears and talking when Breer got angry with her. She told Breer she wanted to get out of the vehicle, but he told her he didn’t want “any third parties involved” and he also didn’t want her walking.
Breer is again representing himself in the current case and he filed a motion saying he was transferred from Northeast Correctional Complex in St. Johnsbury to the prison in Springfield and since then he hasn’t had access to his legal paperwork. Breer said he’s also being charged for phone calls by the Department of Corrections even though the DOC is not supposed to charge him for calls when he’s working on his case. He said this has made it so he can’t effectively work on his case.
The department was represented by attorney Jared Bianchi who said the department was not aware of Breer’s issues. Judge Michael S. Kupersmith noted Breer filed his motion three weeks ago and was surprised the department didn’t come to Wednesday’s hearing with a plan to address Breer’s concerns.
Judge Kupersmith said the issues Breer has rasied could be impacting his constitutional right to a fair and speedy trial.
Bianchi suggested using the same system the department used for Breer when he represented himself in the 2011 case. Judge Kupersmith said the circumstances aren’t the same this time because Breer had stand-by counsel to work with him in the previous case and doesn’t now. He told both sides to talk to each other to figure out how to address the issues or Judge Kupersmith would address them himself. He said the parties will be back in court in 30 days for an update.
Breer is using an attorney for the violations of probation he faces. He had been assigned Christopher Moll to represent him, but he filed a motion asking for a new attorney because he said Moll hasn’t been taking his calls or the calls of witnesses for Breer’s defense.
Judge Kupersmith said Moll told the court in August he would be filing motions by Sept. 13. He didn’t say what the motions would be about, but said it’s been nearly a month since Moll gave himself that deadline and no motions had been filed by him. Moll, who appeared by phone, said he did intend to file the motions, but hadn’t gotten around to it yet.
Judge Kupersmith said the case is over a year old now and while he wants it to proceed he granted Breer’s motion to drop Moll as his attorney. Breer will now be assigned a new attorney.