ST. ALBANS: “He told his Realtor several times that he wanted to put a bullet between her eyes,” said Assistant State’s Attorney Deb Celus of the Franklin County Prosecutor’s office.
Celus was referring to attempted murder suspect Jeffrey Cota, 53, of Bakersfield, who allegedly told his Real Estate Agent he wanted to shoot his estranged partner, Gerry Manchester.
This came during an arraignment for a felony charge of attempted murder of Harley Demag, Jr. on Sunday in Bakersfield, as well as two charges of violating an abuse prevention order. Demag is the son of Gerry Manchester.
Cota sat in court making very little noise, but weeping for most of his 25 minute hearing.
The State argued for an order to hold Cota without bail until further adjudication could happen, but the defense asked the judge for a more lenient sentence, which is ultimately what happened.
“He was found with ammunition in his vehicle after the crash,” Celus pointed out to the court, noting that the release of Cota would be dangerous for not only the victim but also the victim’s family and the general public.
The defense introduced Cota’s mother as a responsible adult that could take responsibility and house Cota if he was released.
Cota’s mother also agreed to turn over three firearms to the Vermont State Police, firearms that belonged to Cota that were moved to his mother’s address when he was issued a temporary relief from abuse order. Since that order was issued to Cota, he was also staying with his mother in Milton.
According to records, Cota tried to sideswipe the vehicle Demag was driving on Route 36, before turning his vehicle around and hitting the vehicle head-on. That vehicle was owned by Demag’s mother and Cota’s estranged partner, Gerry Manchester.
Judge Scot Kline ultimately ordered Cota to be allowed to be released on $50,000 bail, which could allow the man to walk by putting up as little as $5,000.
The County Courier will update this story as more information becomes available. Follow our Facebook page and website for more local news.