Saturday, January 15, 2011

Murder suspect in fatal Burlington crash seeks bail

From Burlington Free Press:

Lawyers argued Friday whether a man charged with murder in a fatal Burlington car crash should be released from prison.
Prosecutors called Timothy Dowd, 52, of Hinesburg a flight risk and danger to the public, and requested in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington that he continue to be held without bail. Dowd’s attorney, John Pacht, requested the court set bail at $100,000, with conditions of release to include daily alcohol breath tests and the wearing of a GPS monitoring device.

Judge James Crucitti said he would rule on the motion next week.

Dowd has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder; driving under the influence, a fifth offense, with death resulting; gross and negligent operation of a vehicle with death resulting; aggravated operation of a vehicle without the owner’s consent; and attempting to elude law-enforcement officers.

Before the Dec. 26 crash that killed Kaye Borneman, Dowd had held a steady job and stayed out of trouble for more than a decade, Pacht argued at the bail hearing. Dowd’s most recent criminal conviction in Vermont stemmed from a 1998 arrest for driving while intoxicated.

Dowd also has no record of driving with a suspended license or otherwise violating his conditions of release following any of his previous four convictions for driving drunk, Pacht said.

Deputy Chittenden County State’s Attorney Mary Morrissey argued Dowd’s alleged actions on the night of the crash demonstrated a disregard for police authority and public safety.

“It’s the decision making on the part of Mr. Dowd, the flawed decision making that puts everybody in this community at risk,” Morrissey said. “That put everybody in the community at risk Dec. 26 and would put people at risk if he’s released again now.”

If released, Dowd might also pose a risk to himself, Morrissey said. Dowd has been placed on suicide watch at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in South Burlington, where he has been imprisoned for nearly three weeks, she said.

Dowd told police in an interview hours after the crash that he wished he could trade his life for the victim’s, an affidavit said.

Wednesday, Dowd became the first person to be charged in Vermont with second-degree murder in connection with an alleged drunken-driving case. If convicted of the charge, Dowd would face 20 years to life in prison.

The victim’s brother, Robert Borneman, said in an e-mail Thursday his family supported the charge.

“Our ultimate focus, however, is not on Mr. Dowd, but on working to create sensible reforms to the state laws of Vermont dealing with several of the issues surrounding the tragedy,” including Dowd’s ability to get a license despite four previous drunken-driving convictions, Borneman said. “Prosecution of Mr. Dowd will not bring my sister back to life. Continued attention on the tragedy, however, may serve the wider cause of public safety.”

On the evening of Dec. 26, Dowd led Burlington police on a high-speed, three-minute chase, running at least seven red lights and nearly colliding twice with police cruisers before slamming the Jeep Cherokee he was driving into Kaye Borneman’s Kia Spectra at the intersection of Main and St. Paul streets, an affidavit states. The impact killed Borneman, 43, of Burlington, instantly, according to court papers.

Several of Borneman’s friends and co-workers from in Burlington attended the bail hearing Friday. They wore purple ribbons, they said, as a tribute to her love of bright colors.
Contact Matt Ryan at 651-4849 or

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