FERRISBURGH — A Burlington man today was charged with second-degree murder for taking the life of Conrad Bell, 40, of Vergennes during a confrontation at a bonfire in Ferrisburgh just before midnight on Friday night.
At a Monday afternoon arraignment in Rutland Superior Court, Joseph Bolduc, 25, pled innocent to that charge as well as a number of other charges stemming from the aftermath of an incident in which Vermont State Police allege Bolduc struck Bell with a tire iron in the neck and caused his death.
VSP allege that Bell stepped in to protect an acquaintance at the bonfire off Sand Road after Bolduc showed up and got into a fight with the third party. According to court documents, witnesses saw Bolduc hit Bell with a tire iron that VSP recovered from the scene after Bolduc fled.
Bell was unresponsive at the scene and was pronounced dead shortly after he was taken to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, according to the affidavit VSP filed in court on Monday.
According to court documents, an autopsy performed by the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office on July 28 determined that “blunt trauma” to Bell’s neck caused his death.
According to VSP, at approximately 11:56 p.m. on July 27, they received a 911 call regarding an assault on Sand Road in Ferrisburgh. Troopers from the VSP’s New Haven barracks and the Vergennes Area Rescue Squad were dispatched immediately. Upon arrival emergency responders located a man, later identified as Bell, 40, who was unresponsive and began resuscitation efforts.
During the initial investigation, police learned that a fight occurred between several members of a group of people attending a bonfire and a male that drove up to the group.
Witnesses said the gathering was peaceful until Bolduc showed up. Bolduc left the scene before police arrived. VSP said he rolled his truck on Sand Road and then fled the accident scene. Troopers from the New Haven barracks immediately initiated a search for Bolduc.
With the assistance of Vergennes police, Bolduc was arrested after allegedly assaulting a state trooper. VSP said he was found hiding in the basement of a home owned by a former girlfriend.
Bolduc was first taken to VSP’s New Haven barracks, and then to Porter Hospital to be treated for injuries suffered in the accident. When he returned to the barracks to be processed for DUI, Bolduc tried to disarm a VSP trooper, who threatened him with a taser to subdue him, according to court documents.
Bolduc’s charges included a criminal count of driving with a suspended license; driving under the influence test refusal, third offense; leaving the scene of an accident; negligent driving; resisting arrest; and attempting to disarm a law enforcement officer.
Over the weekend, he was lodged without bail at the Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility.
After Monday’s arraignment he was returned to the Marble Valley jail and was still held without bail, according to court documents.
A Weight of the Evidence Hearing, the next step toward a trial, was set for Wednesday at 2 p.m. in Addison Superior Court, Criminal Division.