By Gregory J. Lamoureux
ST. ALBANS: James Mulholland, 22, of Swanton pleaded not guilty to first- degree murder on Monday during his arraignment on charges connected to Friday’s shooting in Swanton. Mulholland appeared at his arraignment by video from Northwest Correctional Center where he has been held since his arrest on Friday.
According to the prosecutor in the case, Sarah Baker, the defendant showed enough concern to public health that police seized a gun within the past few weeks.
In testimony in court on Monday afternoon, Mulholland’s mother, Mrs. White, said she had been concerned that her son could become violent with the firearm that police say he used to gun down 32-year-old Kyle A. LaBelle on Second Street Friday afternoon.
The prosecutor insinuated that the firearm was seized due to a public safety concern, but Mulholland’s mother claimed on the stand that the firearm was seized after Mulholland was the victim of another case in which he was assaulted, and the firearm was taken from his possession.
White told the court her son had been carrying a firearm with him for the better part of about 8 months, with the purpose of protecting himself.
White said she had spoken with her son about her concerns with him carrying the firearm, but he continued to because “it was his legal right to do so.”
White also testified that she had previously spoken with counselors at NCSS as well as officers at Swanton Police about her concerns with her son possessing a firearm.
Mulholland’s mother also told the court that her son suffers from a fairly severe developmental disorder, with a low IQ, preventing him from understanding the same way the average person does.
The state’s attorney asked for Mulholland to be held without bail, which was approved by Judge Scott Kline. A full bail hearing is expected in the case in the coming weeks.
“There does not seem to be much of a dispute that the defendant was the one that shot and killed Mr. Labelle,” Kline said as he explained the case Monday afternoon.
According to court records, Mulholland made a death threat against the victim moments before he pulled a semi-automatic pistol from his waistband, firing 11 shots in the direction of the victim.
Kline denied a request by the defense to release Mulholland into the custody of his mother, Mrs. White, citing her inability to control her son in the past, and the inability to convince him not to carry a firearm, as well as the violent nature of the crime.
We will have complete coverage of the case in this week’s print edition of the County Courier, as well as updates published online as they become public.