BARRE — A Plainfield man has admitted to holding a woman at gunpoint, a woman he has assaulted in the past.
Justin R. West, 22, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Washington County criminal court in Barre to felony counts of first-degree aggravated assault and first-degree unlawful restraint. He also admitted to violating his probation.
West will be sentenced to two to 12 years to serve at a later date so that his victim has a chance to give her input on the sentence. The state dropped a felony count of first-degree aggravated domestic assault with a weapon and a misdemeanor count of domestic assault per the plea agreement.
Trooper Brandon Gallant, of the Vermont State Police, said in his affidavit a family fight was reported on School Street in Plainfield in October 2017. Gallant said the caller reported hearing a female screaming at someone to let her go. He said police then received a call from the female, saying West had assaulted her and threatened to shoot both her and himself and that West had choked her during the incident. She told police she ran to the Maplefields store on Route 2 and hid in a back room.
West was located at his residence and was unarmed, according to court records. West told police his guns were in the residence and Gallant reported that police found two unloaded weapons — a .22-caliber rifle and 9-mm handgun.
West told police he and the woman had gotten into an argument and he blacked out.
Police again talked to the woman, who said during their argument West had grabbed her by the throat, picked her up and threw her onto a couch. She said she couldn’t breathe for about 20 seconds because West was choking her. She said she tried to go outside and yell for help, but West dragged her back inside and locked the door. He then grabbed a gun, cocked it and told the woman he was going to shoot her, according to the affidavit. He also threatened to shoot himself and put the gun to his head.
West was on probation at the time for simple assault, disorderly conduct and negligent operation.
He pleaded guilty to those charges in September 2017. The simple assault conviction was amended down from domestic assault as part of a plea agreement.
In that case, police in May 2017 responded to a reported domestic dispute in Montpelier. The woman told police she and West had gotten into an argument and West had hit her in the face with the back of his hand. Police noted the woman had a scrape on her left cheek.