News and Press Releases

Former Rutland Resident Charged with Destroying a Long Trail Shelter in Mendon by Lighting a Fire Inside It

February 16, 2012

Burlington, VT – The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated today that Justin Caissie of Manchester, New Hampshire, formerly of Rutland, Vermont, was charged with damaging property of the United States and giving a false statement to a federal officer. Caissie pled not guilty to the charges and was released on personal recognizance by Magistrate Judge John Conroy. Judge Conroy, however, ordered that as a condition of release Caissie not be allowed to enter United States Forest Service land, except passing directly through on primary roadways.

According to the allegations, on the afternoon of March 2, 2011, a fire destroyed the Tucker Johnson Trail Shelter on the Green Mountain National Forest. The shelter was located on the Long Trail just north of the intersection of the Long Trail and the Appalachian Trail in Mendon, VT. The shelter had a wooden floor and no fireplace.

The United States alleges that Caissie destroyed the shelter by lighting a fire inside it. The United States also alleges that Caissie then gave a false statement to a U.S. Forest Service Special Agent by falsely stating that the shelter had already been destroyed by fire by the time he arrived there. 

The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty. If he is convicted, Caissie faces a maximum possible term of imprisonment of 10 years, however the actual sentence in the event of a conviction, will be determined pursuant to the advisory federal sentencing guidelines and the federal statutory sentencing factors.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Forest Service with assistance from the Rutland City Fire Department. The United States is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Perella. Caissie is represented by Steven Barth of the Federal Public Defender's Office in Burlington.

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