FERRISBURGH — The wife of Conrad Bell, who Vermont State Police allege was killed by a Burlington man at a July 27 bonfire in Ferrisburgh, said one element of the VSP court documents filed on July 30 and then reported in the Independent on Aug. 2 is not accurate.
Laurie Bell, 44, of Vergennes said alleged killer Joseph Bolduc, 25, did not threaten her husband in a July 21 phone call, as described in one VSP affidavit.
“There was no phone call from Bolduc,” said Laurie Bell, a nurse and mother of Conrad Bell’s three-year-old daughter.
Bell said she talked to a VSP trooper briefly about a threat, but doesn’t believe Bolduc and her husband — who was 40 when he was struck and killed on July 27, allegedly by a tire iron wielded by Bolduc — were acquainted.
“I could probably tell you for a fact my husband didn’t know him,” Bell said.
Addison County Deputy State’s Attorney Chris Perkett agreed the statement in the VSP affidavit alleging that Bolduc may have threatened Bell on the phone was based on miscommunication.
“She was misunderstood,” Perkett said. “While there has been a prior threat ... she didn’t know the identity of that caller, and there was no reason for her to believe it was Mr. Bolduc because as far as she knew neither she or her husband knew Mr. Bolduc.”
Laurie Bell also said she had heard information that might shed some light on the events of July 27. VSP allege that Bolduc showed up at the small party just before midnight looking for Brandon Bothwell, who is described in court documents as the current boyfriend of Bolduc’s ex-girlfriend, Jennifer Poulos.
Bell said she had no direct knowledge of events because she was not at the small party, but that several partygoers told her that Bothwell had been at the gathering earlier in the evening with Poulos. According to VSP affidavits, Poulos had been at the party, but the documents did not state that Bothwell had been there.
Perkett said he could not address Bell’s statement, which could explain why Bolduc showed up at the party, because of the ongoing investigation.
“I’m not prepared to comment beyond what’s in the affidavits ... at this point,” Perkett said.
According to VSP, witnesses said when Bolduc arrived shouting about Bothwell a fight broke out between him and partygoer Todd Huestis. Conrad Bell went to help Huestis, and Bolduc then struck him two or three times with a tire iron, according to the affidavits.
Bolduc was arraigned in Rutland Superior Court on July 30 and charged with second-degree homicide, to which he pleaded innocent.
Bolduc fled the scene after the incident, rolled over his pickup truck, and left the scene of the accident. When found, he allegedly tried to flee from police, struck one trooper and tried to grab another trooper’s weapon.
He also was formally charged on that Monday with simple assault on a law enforcement officer, attempting to disarm a law enforcement officer, and a criminal charge of driving with a suspended license. Bolduc pleaded innocent to all the charges.
Bolduc is currently being held without bail at the Marble Valley Correctional Center. Perkett said he was being held without bail both because of prosecutors’ request due to the murder charge and because Bolduc was out of prison on furlough at the time of the killing.
Perkett said, according to records, in March of 2007 Bolduc pleaded guilty to a felony count of careless and negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and was sentenced for 23 to 48 months in jail for that offense, and also at that time pleaded guilty to and was sentenced to shorter terms for driving under the influence of alcohol, second offense; violation of conditions of release; and two counts of domestic assault.
An Aug. 2 “weight of the evidence” hearing at Addison Superior Court at which bail could have been addressed was called off at the request of Bolduc’s attorney, Paul Jarvis of Burlington, according to court officials.
According to reports from media outlets at Bolduc’s July 30 arraignment, he plans to use self-defense as an element in his defense against the second-degree murder charge.
Laurie Bell said she was highly skeptical of the self-defense claim.
“My husband was the nicest man you’ll ever meet,” Bell said. “He was a very good man and an awesome father to his little girl.”
CORRECTIONS: Due to typographical errors, Bell and Bolduc’s names were twice transposed in the Independent’s Aug. 2 article, “Burlington man charged with Ferrisburgh murder.”
In a paragraph regarding the phone call allegedly overheard by Bell’s wife, Laurie Bell, a sentence should have read, “Patten’s affidavit also reported a call allegedly placed from Bolduc to Bell at about 10 p.m. on July 21.”
The first sentence of the final paragraph should have read: “Because of his actions after allegedly striking Bell with the tire iron, Bolduc also was formally charged on Monday with simple assault on a law enforcement officer, attempting to disarm a law enforcement officer, and a criminal charge of driving with a suspended license.”