Bennington Man Convicted Of Armed Robbery
The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that John Chinnici, 33, of Bennington, Vermont, was convicted on July 27, 2018, in United States District Court in Burlington, Vermont, following a jury trial. U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss ordered Chinnici to remain in custody after the jury returned its verdict.
According to court records and proceedings, on January 11, 2016, at approximately 12:30 am, two masked men, one of whom carried a handgun, approached two employees of the Martin’s Mobil Mini-Mart in Bennington, Vermont as the employees walked to deposit the store’s night receipts at the drop box of a nearby bank. After demanding the employees hand over the bag containing the money, the robbers ordered the men to lie on the ground. The robbers then ran away. The employees returned to the store and called 911.
Through investigation, the Bennington Police Department determined that Austin Mayhew, 29, of Bennington, was one of the robbers. Mayhew identified Chinnici as the man who committed the robbery with him and as the person who carried the handgun. When interviewed by law enforcement, Chinnici claimed that he was not in Bennington on the night of the robbery; he claimed that he spent the night in East Dover at the home of friends.
Mayhew eventually pleaded guilty in Vermont state court to committing the robbery. He testified at Chinnici’s trial pursuant to a court-ordered grant of immunity. In addition to Mayhew’s testimony, the government presented evidence which rebutted Chinnici’s false alibi. The government also presented evidence from Chinnici’s cell phone, including evidence that his cell phone was in Bennington at the time of the robbery, not in East Dover, texts he exchanged with a former-girlfriend which detailed that he came into money during the night of the robbery, and photos of receipts showing that he sent the former girlfriend nearly $1,000 in the days following the robbery.
United States Attorney Christina E. Nolan commended the efforts of the ATF and the Bennington Police Department in the investigation and prosecution of Chinnici. The prosecution of Chinnici was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Barbara A. Masterson and Joseph R. Perella. Chinnici was represented by Ernest (Bud) Allen.
Chinnici faces a sentence of up to 20 years incarceration, followed by a period of supervised release, restitution, a possible fine, and a mandatory special assessment. Chinnici’s sentence will be determined by the sentencing judge after consultation with the United States Sentencing Guidelines and the factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a).