Chittenden County Man Charged with Threatening State Officials and Members of Legal Community
The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Josh Puma, 35, formerly of Chittenden County, was arraigned today in Burlington before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin J. Doyle on three counts of transmitting threats in interstate commerce to injure the person of another. Puma pleaded not guilty to the charges and Magistrate Judge Doyle ordered Puma detained pending trial.
According to court documents and proceedings, the instant charges involve allegations that Puma called a Vermont Department of Corrections reporting line and threatened to kill a state court judge, a defense attorney, and a state prosecutor and to sexually assault that same prosecutor. The calls were recorded, and Puma specifically stated that when he is released from jail, he will use violence and kill and maim those state officials, in addition to harming and killing other members of the legal community. Puma was recently ordered hospitalized by the state court due to mental health considerations.
If convicted of these offenses, Puma faces a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment on each count alleged in the Indictment. Any actual sentence, however, would be determined by the Court with guidance from the advisory Federal Sentencing Guidelines. The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charges in the Indictment are merely accusations, and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Vermont State Police.
The United States is represented in this matter by Assistant U.S. Attorney Wendy Fuller. Josh Puma is represented by the Office of the Federal Public Defender.
The second paragraph of this press release was updated to reflect the allegations in the public record.