Was Chester Shooting Self-Defense?

White River Junction, Vermont - August 18, 2008

Kyle Bolaski, 24, told police he thought he was the one who was going to be killed. Bolaski says that's why he pulled out a high-powered rifle from his truck and fatally shot Vincent Tamburello, 32.

The shooting happened at a ball field in Chester Sunday.

Crime scene investigators were there Monday morning as well as those trying to make sense of what happened the night before.

"This is Chester, Vermont. It is a small town and everybody is friends with everybody," said Mikala Bates, a friend of Bolaski.

According to court documents, the victim was armed with an axe, and went to the field looking to settle a score from a day earlier-- Tamburello had gotten into a fight with one of Bolaski's friends. Court papers say that when Tamburello showed up a the field, Bolaski and several other people confronted him. Police say Tamburello began to chase Bolaski with the axe.

"He is able to get a gun out of the truck, and he is pleading with the decedent to stay away. There is one shot fired," Bolaski's lawyer Kevin Griffin said.

Papers state that Bolaski hit the victim in the leg with that bullet. Prosecutors say that shot was justified because there was "adequate provocation."

"Once, the deceased had been hit, the situation changed," said Windsor County State's Attorney Robert Sand.

But Sand says that after the victim was hit once, Bolaski did not need to fire a second shot.

"The deceased stopped pursuing the defendant. And was no longer brandishing the axe," Sand said.

Bolaski also faces an aggravated assault charge because papers state he hit the victim in the face with the butt end of his gun after the second shot was fired.

But some friends say that given the situation, Bolaski had no choice.

He pleaded not guilty to the two charges and is being held on $100,000 bail.

Adam Sullivan - WCAX News


yle Bolaski (24) shot a man to death after a softball game

Filed Under: Murderer

Kyle Bolaski (24)

Date: Aug 17, 2008
Charged with: 2nd Degree Murder
Location: Chester, Vermont
URL:  go to their myspace
Vermont State Police say a shooting has claimed the life of a Springfield man.

Police called to a report of shots fired Sunday at ball fields near Vermont Route 103 in the town of Chester found Vincent Tamburello, 32, of Springfield, with a gunshot wound.

He died later at Springfield Hospital.

A witness told NewsChannel 5 the shooting occured after a softball game.

Kyle Bolaski, 24, of Springfield, who police say was identified by witnesses as the shooter, was charged with second-degree murder.

Windsor County State's Attorney Robert Sand said Bolaski is being held on $100,000 bail following his arraignment Monday before Judge Kathleen Manley in Vermont District Court in White River Junction.

Police who were called to a report of shots fired found Vincent Tamburello, 32, of Springfield, with a gunshot wound. Witnesses told police the two men had been arguing.

Tamburello died later at Springfield Hospital.

Ball field fracas results in killing

CHESTER — A confrontation at a ball field that turned violent Sunday has led to a Chester man being charged with second-degree murder.

Kyle D. Bolaski allegedly shot Vincent Tamburello twice during a fatal shooting, but it was only the second time he pulled the trigger that prosecutors are considering a criminal act.

Bolaski, 24, of Chester, pleaded innocent Monday in Vermont District Court in White River to a charge of second-degree murder and a felony charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for an incident at MacKenzie Park.

Bolaski could be sentenced to 20 years to life in prison if convicted on the second-degree murder charge. The aggravated assault charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

During the arraignment, Windsor State's Attorney Robert Sand made clear that neither of those charges included the first bullet that Bolaski fired from a hunting rifle he pulled from his truck.

Sand said prosecutors believe Bolaski acted in self-defense by shooting the first time to protect himself from Tamburello, 32, of Springfield, whom witnesses at the softball field described as crazed and wielding an ax when he confronted Bolaski and two other men Saturday night.

Bolaski was taken to the Springfield jail for lack of $100,000 bail after his arraignment. That bail amount was lower than the $250,000 that Sand was asking for, but greater than the $50,000 bail that defense attorney Kevin Griffin asked the court to set.

"I understand that second-degree murder is an extra-ordinary offense, but the court needs to look at the weight of the evidence," Griffin told Judge Kathleen Manley.

Sand said Bolaski's right to self-defense expired after the Chester man put a bullet into Tamburello's leg.

"The dynamics of who was the aggressor and who was the retreating party changed after that gunshot," he said during an interview outside the courthouse after the arraignment.

At that point, Sand said, the hunted became the hunter, with Bolaski cornering Tamburello, shooting him again, and then reversing the rifle to strike the stricken man in the face multiple times with the butt of the gun.

The evidence laid out in a nine-page police affidavit is solid in a number of areas where witnesses to the event had corroborating accounts. But some important details differ from account to account.

What appears clear in the affidavit written by State Police Detective Sgt. William Jenkins is that Bolaski, his brother, Cory Bolaski, and at least two friends confronted Tamburello on a paved driveway leading down to the playing fields a little after 7 p.m. on Sunday.

A fundraiser and a softball tournament had taken place at the field earlier in the day and while both events were over, a number of players and other people lingered at the park.

According to statements that Jenkins took from Bolaski, his brother and Bolaski's friend, Jerry Ucci, there had been an incident Saturday involving Tamburello that precipitated the confrontation on Sunday. Springfield police were involved in the Saturday incident, but no arrests were made and no report was available on Monday, according to Springfield Police.

Ucci told police the dispute revolved around Tamburello's girlfriend, who was briefly involved with a friend of his and Bolaski's last year.

Ucci told police that Tamburello promised revenge on everyone involved in the incident on Saturday, including Tristan Blanchard, who came with Bolaski to the park on Sunday. Ucci told police that he relayed a message to Tamburello telling him to come to the ball field.

When Tamburello arrived, Bolaski and his friends allegedly tried to approach the car he came in, but kept their distance after Tamburello allegedly produced a Taser.

Tamburello then allegedly reached into the car and grabbed what Jenkins wrote was an ax and what Griffin said was a "maul or a pickax."

Every witness in Jenkins' affidavit said they saw Tamburello chasing Bolaski and his friends down the hill, toward the grass lot where trucks and campers were parked Sunday night.

The witnesses also agree that Tamburello used the weapon to strike Bolaski's Ford truck several times.

From that point, depictions of the following events vary.

Bolaski told police he managed to get into his truck where a 30-06 hunting rifle and semi-automatic .22-caliber rifle were stored. Loading the large caliber rifle, he said, he warned Tamburello to stop. When he didn't, he said, he shot Tamburello in the leg.

However, he told police that didn't stop Tamburello from continuing to advance with the ax, so he backed away a few more paces, aimed for his leg again and pulled the trigger. Bolaski told police that he had no prior history with Tamburello. He told police he knew so little about him that he knew him only as "Vinnie."

One woman interviewed by police said after the shooting, Kyle Bolaski began "hollering to everyone, 'You saw it, it was self defense.'"

A preliminary examination of Tamburello's body after he was pronounced dead at Springfield Hospital found injuries to Tamburello's hip and leg and an exit wound in his lower back. There was also bruising, swelling and bleeding around Tamburello's left eye socket that Jenkins wrote was "consistent with witness reports of Tamburello being hit by Bolaski with the butt end of the gun."

Only witness Nicholas Batchelder said he saw Bolaski hitting Tamburello with the gun. Witness Kristina Morgan said she saw another friend of Bolaski's kick something on the ground which she thought was Tamburello.

When Casey Brickey, who watched the shooting, was asked by police whether he thought Bolaski acted in self-defense, he said it "definitely was not."

Cory Bolaski told police that after his brother withdrew the 30-06, he reached into the truck and grabbed the .22-caliber rifle, which he told police he was worried Tamburello would find and use against them. Bolaski said he fired the gun into the ground twice as a warning to Tamburello to stay back.

Contact Brent Curtis at brent.curtis@rutlandherald.com.





Murder Charges Dropped, Shooting Was Self-Defense
WCAX.com ^ | 26 November, 2008 | NA

Posted on Saturday, November 29, 2008 7:53:12 AM by marktwain

Chester, Vermont - November 26, 2008

Murder charges have been dropped in a fatal shooting in Windsor County.

Kyle Bolaski, 24, of Springfield, was charged with second-degree murder, for killing Vincent Tamburello, 32, of Springfield, in August during a fight at a park in Chester. Bolaski claims Tamburello was chasing him with an ax, so he shot him twice.

A grand jury agreed the shooting was self-defense.

Bolaski will face aggravated assault charges for allegedly hitting Tamburello with the gun after the shooting.



Article published May 1, 2010
Chester man denies charge of murder
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — A visiting prosecutor was highly critical of the county's state's attorney during a Chester man's arraignment on a murder charge Friday.

Kyle D. Bolaski, 26, pleaded innocent in White River Junction District Court to second-degree murder, 19 months after he was first charged with murder and more than a year after that original murder charge was dismissed.

Bolaski did not speak during a 45-minute proceeding that pitted Bolaski's attorney Kevin Griffin against Franklin County Deputy State's Attorney John Lavoie in a debate on the merits of holding Bolaski without bail. However, Lavoie also spared no words criticizing the work of the former prosecutor on the case and the man who asked Lavoie to take his place, Windsor County State's Attorney Robert Sand.

"A lot of mistakes have been made in this case from the get-go," said Lavoie of the way the case had been handled by Sand, who voluntarily withdrew from the case in March. "All I can say is I view this evidence much differently than Mr. Sand did."

Bolaski was originally charged with second-degree murder in August 2008 for killing Vincent Tamburello, 32, of Springfield. According to numerous witnesses, Bolaski and Tamburello — who had never met before — had a confrontation at MacKenzie Field in Chester. Tamburello chased Bolaski with a splitting maul and Bolaski drew a rifle from his pickup and shot Tamburello twice, with the fatal shot entering Tamburello's back, according to court records.

Affidavits state Bolaski didn't deny shooting Tamburello but claimed it was self-defense. Bolaski is also facing an assault charge for allegedly beating Tamburello in the face with the rifle stock as he lay dying, according to court records.

In November Sand dismissed the murder charge after a grand jury reviewed the evidence and decided there was not sufficient probable cause for either a murder or a manslaughter charge.

"Convening a grand jury because some of the evidence is difficult is a misuse of the grand jury," said Lavoie, who has never convened a grand jury.

Lavoie argued Bolaski should be held without bail on the murder charge because he is facing the possibility of life without parole if convicted. Griffin said Bolaski should remain free on bail because he was released on bail when he was arraigned for murder the first time and there is no new evidence in the case.

"Despite whatever has been said or quoted in the press, there has not been one new investigation, one new piece of evidence that has been turned over to us since the grand jury," Griffin said. "The only thing that's changed is who's prosecuting the case."

Lavoie argued the evidence presented to the grand jury was more than sufficient to support a second-degree or even a first-degree murder charge.

"He had a splitting maul in his hand. He did not use it to attack a person, but to attack the defendant's truck," Lavoie said. "You don't have the right to kill someone because they're beating up your truck."

In the end, Judge Theresa S. DiMauro declined to hold Bolaski without bail.

"The court cannot point to anything significant that has happened to justify holding him without bail," said DiMauro, who did raise Bolaski's bail from $10,000 to $100,000, either cash or bond. Bolaski was led from the courtroom to the holding area following his arraignment, and it is not clear if he made bail or not. The Department of Corrections did not list Bolaski as an inmate Friday evening.

The victim's father, Vincent Tamburello Sr., was pleased Bolaski is facing a murder charge.

"We finally have a prosecutor in there who is doing the right job. This should have been done at the very beginning," said Tamburello. "It's not that there's no new evidence. This is the evidence they had all along that they haven't worked with."

When reached for comment Friday evening, Sand had nothing to say in reply to Lavoie's criticism.

"John is an independent prosecutor and he can do what he wants," Sand said. "I'm no longer involved in the case and I have no comment."

                                 NEWS VIDEO >>>>>>>>>>     http://www.wcax.com/global/story.asp?s=12407611


  5-9-11 WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Kyle Bolaski’s second-degree murder trial began at criminal court in White River Junction on Monday.

John Lavoie, Franklin County deputy state’s attorney, began his opening statements by saying the case was not a “Whodunit.” Lavoie said Kyle Bolaski of Chester shot and killed Vincent Tamburello of Springfield with a .30-06 and “no one will say it differently.”

According to Lavoie, Bolaski shot Tamburello in the leg and once in the back in a confrontation at MacKenzie field in Chester in August 2008. Lavoie showed the jury a picture of Tamburello’s leg wound.

“That is a through and through wound,” Lavoie said. “If that is so clear, why are we here?”

Bolaski is being tried on counts of second-degree murder, manslaughter, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and violation of conditions of release.

Defense attorney Kevin Griffin said Bolaski still does not know why Tamburello chose him to unleash his rage. He said the trial has parallels to the 2005 Oscar award-winning movie “Crash.” In the film, several characters from different racial and class backgrounds tell different stories about a Los Angeles carjacking incident.

“What makes ‘Crash’ so powerful is the different story lines that come together at the end (of the film). That is what this case is about,” Griffin said.

Richard Howard was the state’s first witness to testify. He was playing in a softball tournament at the field on Aug. 17, 2008, and was not connected to Bolaski or Tamburello. After the game, Howard said “a fight was about to happen” and saw “a guy with an ax” running toward a crowd. Howard said his truck was parked at the ball field near Bolaski’s, and Tamburello hit Bolaski’s truck with the ax “five or six times.” According to Howard, he saw “a guy with black jeans” identified as Bolaski come out with a gun. Howard heard Bolaski say “Are you looking for this?” and fired his weapon.

“Tamburello was trying to get away ... Bolaski shoots again and I left after the second shot,” Howard said.

Julie Kronberg of Springfield was the second witness. She had dated Tamburello off and on for a year and a half.

Kronberg recalled how she, Tamburello and a friend of hers were visiting Tristan Blanchard of Springfield. A former boyfriend of Kronberg’s, Ben Malloy, arrived and Tamburello was upset about their past relationship. Tensions arose between Tamburello, Blanchard and Malloy and they arranged at MacKenzie field, where the fatal events happened.


Murder trial under way in 2008 Vermont shooting

By Associated Press  |   Tuesday, May 10, 2011  |  http://www.bostonherald.com  |  Northeast

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, Vt. — Was it murder or self-defense?

That’s the issue at the heart of a murder trial in Vermont, where a man is charged with second-degree murder in a 2008 shooting that stemmed from a feud that had been brewing for days.

Kyle Bolaski, 27, of Springfield, is accused in the slaying of Vincent Tamburello, 32, who had been at odds with friends of Bolaski’s in the days before the killing.

Bolaski says he acted in self-defense.

In opening arguments Monday, prosecutor John Lavoie said Tamburello was already wounded by a shot to the leg when Bolaski shot him in the back with a hunting rifle.

"This case isn’t a ’Whodunit?’ " Lavoie said. "The guy who shot and killed Vincent Tamburello is sitting right over there, and there’s no question about it. He shot him through the left leg. . When Vinnie is hobbled and moving back and moving away, he shot him a second time, in the back."

Bolaski’s lawyer told jurors in Windsor Superior Court that Bolaski was defending himself from Tamburello, who had swung at Bolaski with an ax before Bolaski shot him.

"This is as clear a self-defense case as you will ever, ever sit on," said defense attorney Kevin Griffin.

Tamburello’s girlfriend, Julie Kronberg, testified that she called 911 from the scene.

"I need help right now," she told the dispatcher. "There’s (several) people trying to kill my boyfriend, they have weapons. Please hurry. I’m scared. ... Oh my God, they’ve got guns, please hurry. . They shot him, they shot him, they shot Vinnie."

Bolaski, who has pleaded not guilty, could get life in prison if convicted. He’s also charged with aggravated assault for hitting Tamburello’s head with the butt of a rifle after the shooting.

On hand for the opening day of the trial were nearly a dozen members of the Tamburello family, who live outside Boston. Tamburello, who was raised in Charlestown, Mass., had moved to Vermont about a month before he was killed.


5-10-11-WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Defense attorneys questioned the State’s witnesses about the events leading up to Vincent Tamburello’s death on Tuesday.

The State vs. Bolaski trial entered its second day of testimony at Windsor criminal court in White River Junction. Kyle Bolaski of Chester faces charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and a violation of conditions of release. Bolaski was also brought up on a charge of marijuana possession, but it was dismissed by the State on May 4. Bolaski allegedly shot and killed Tamburello of Springfield in a confrontation at MacKenzie ball field in Chester on Aug. 17, 2008.

Ellen Kronberg of Springfield was the first to testify. Kronberg is the mother of Tamburello’s ex-girlfriend Julie Kronberg, who testified on Monday. According to Ellen Kronberg, Tamburello and Julie Kronberg’s friend Kirby Donahue were living at her residence.

On Aug. 16, 2008, a incident took place between Tristan Blanchard of Springfield, Donahue and Tamburello. Julie Kronberg, Donahue and Tamburello left Blanchard’s residence and were followed back to Ellen Kronberg’s residence by Blanchard and his friends. A conflict erupted on Kronberg’s property, and defense attorney Kevin Griffin asked Kronberg whether Tamburello was holding a stun gun and a knife in hand. Kronberg said she did not see one.

“I didn’t know (Tamburello) owned a stun gun, and I did not see him with a weapon,” Kronberg said.

The second witness to testify was Kronberg’s neighbor Kevin Blanchard (no relation to Tristan Blanchard). Blanchard witnessed the incident on Kronberg’s lawn, but could not confirm if Tamburello had any weapons in his possession.

According to written statements, the bad blood continued at MacKenzie ball field the following day. Blanchard and his friends met with Tamburello, Donahue and Julie Kronberg. Tamburello approached the crowd with an ax and began swinging at Bolaski’s car. Bolaski took out his 30-06-caliber rifle and allegedly shot Tamburello.

Nicholas Batchelder of Bellows Falls was playing softball at the ball field and witnessed the shooting. According to Batchelder, Tamburello “buckled” and tried to get away once the first shot was fired. Defense attorney Elizabeth Kruska asked Batchelder if Tamburello was holding an ax after the first shot was fired. Batchelder said he was unsure.

His sister, June Beam of Bellows Falls, said she did not see Bolaski fire the 30-06, but “heard the shots.”

Kruska asked Beam if she remembered anyone chasing Tamburello with a gun. Beam responded “I don’t know.”

Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Elizabeth Bundock examined Tamburello’s autopsy after the alleged murder. Bundock saw two gunshot wounds, one from Tamburello’s inner left thigh and one through the buttocks that exited the “left groin area.” Bundock also found injuries to Tamburello’s head, face, and eyes.

Franklin County Deputy State’s Attorney John Lavoie showed Bundock a 30-06 that was allegedly used at the shooting. Lavoie asked if the Tamburello’s eye wounds were consistent to a rifle butt. Bundock replied “yes.” Griffin cross examined Bundock and asked if this was the first time she saw the 30-06 shown by Lavoie. Bundock said it was, but she maintained it was “consistent with a blunt object or a rifle.” When Griffin asked if she knew which one, Bundock said “no.”


5-11-11 WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Testimony in the Kyle Bolaski trial was delayed on Wednesday when a juror admitted that she followed the case in November 2008.

Earlier in the case, a grand jury dropped second-degree murder charges against Bolaski of Chester, who shot and killed Tamburello of Springfield in an August 2008 confrontation at MacKenzie ball field in Chester, according to court records.

The grand jury ruled the shooting was in self-defense and Bolaski should be tried for aggravated assault. Windsor County State’s Attorney Robert Sand left the case and Franklin County State’s Attorney John Lavoie agreed to try Bolaski for second-degree murder.

“During yesterday’s cross-examination, I heard the defense mention the grand jury testimony. I had a recollection of that. I followed (the case) loosely and then it went away,” the juror said.

Defense attorney Kevin Griffin said the juror’s memory was “vague” and the juror did not have an opinion of the new trial one way or the other. Judge M. Patricia Zimmerman disagreed and excused the juror.

Once the trial resumed, Tracey Canino of the Vermont Forensics Laboratory testified that she conducted serology tests on Bolaski’s .30-06 caliber rifle, which police said he used to shoot Tamburello. According to Canino, serology is the study of blood and bodily fluids. Canino examined the rifle and found “presumptive” positive results on the metal barrel area of the rifle. Griffin asked “It could be blood, but we don’t know, right?”

“Correct,” Canino said.

The prosecution argues Bolaski shot Tamburello in the left thigh and back and beat him with the butt of the .30-06. Lavoie asked whether Tamburello’s blood could still transfer to the rifle, even if the results were not conclusive. Canino answered “Yes.”

State Medical Examiner Dr. Elizabeth Bundock was called back to retestify. Bundock conducted an autopsy on Tamburello. On Tuesday, Bundock was shown a photo of Tamburello’s face. The photo showed blunt trauma injuries above and below Tamburello’s left eye. Upon further review, Bundock concluded that one of the impacts was consistent with a the butt of a .30-06 caliber rifle. Griffin appeared surprised that Bundock revisited the issue after Tuesday’s testimony. He asked Bundock if she could confirm whether the butt of a .30-06 rifle was used. Bundock responded, “I can’t always tell you this is it.”

Steven Pippin of Chester was called to testify. He was at MacKenzie ball field playing in a softball tournament at the time of the shooting. According to Pippin’s recollection, he saw a group of people show up at the ball field. He heard from a fellow softball player that an incident was about to take place between a group of people and a person was offering money “to protect someone” or “beat someone up.” When asked who made the offer, Pippin said it was a friend of Bolaski’s.

“I know him as an acquaintance through softball,” Pippin said.

Pippin recounted the events leading up to the shooting of Tamburello. According to Pippin, Tamburello was hitting Bolaski’s car with an ax and Bolaski came around his car and pointed his rifle at Tamburello. Pippin said Tamburello “froze,” heard three gunshots, and saw Tamburello on the ground. After the shooting, Pippin said he saw a person kicking Tamburello and identified that person as Bolaski’s friend.

“I focused on him because I knew him,” Pippin said.


5-12-11   WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Thursday’s testimony at the State vs. Bolaski trial got heated as the Franklin County State’s Attorney John Lavoie accused a witness of lying, while the witness claimed he was given testimonial immunity. The disagreement went back and forth until Judge M. Patricia Zimmerman stepped in and halted questioning.

Tristan Blanchard, of Chester, took the stand for the second day in a row in criminal court in White River Junction. Blanchard is a friend of Kyle Bolaski, of Chester, who shot and killed Tamburello, of Springfield, in a confrontation at MacKenzie ball field in Chester.

Blanchard recounted events leading up to Tamburello’s death on Aug. 17, 2008. The day before, Tamburello, his ex-girlfriend Julie Kronberg, and her friend Kirby Donahue visited Blanchard’s apartment. According to Blanchard, Tamburello took $40 worth of marijuana and Blanchard followed Tamburello, Kronberg, and Donahue to Ellen Kronberg’s house, where they were living at the time. A fight broke out between Tamburello and Blanchard’s friend Gib Bastian that evening and the Springfield police broke it up. No arrests were made.

The next morning, Blanchard said, Bolaski, his brother Corey, and their friend Jerry Ucci picked Blanchard up in Corey Bolaski’s truck. According to court records, Blanchard saw a rifle in the truck. The rifle was Kyle Bolaski’s .30-06. Blanchard said he told the Bolaskis and Ucci that Tamburello “was following him.” Ucci spoke with Donahue and Tamburello to sort things out and the conversation lead to a meeting at MacKenzie ball field.

Lavoie asked Blanchard if Ucci organized a meeting with Tamburello at MacKenzie ball field. Blanchard said he could not remember. When Lavoie asked Blanchard if he was looking for the Bolaskis’ help, Blanchard responded, “They called me and came to my house. I didn’t ask for help.”

According to Lavoie, the Bolaskis took Blanchard back to their apartment. They then took Kyle Bolaski’s truck to the ball field and Kyle Bolaski transferred his .30-06 rifle from Corey Bolaski’s truck to his. Corey Bolaski also picked up his .22-caliber rifle.

Lavoie asked Blanchard if it was his idea to get a second rifle. Blanchard said it was Corey Bolaski’s idea. Lavoie asked if Corey Bolaski insisted that Blanchard take the second weapon. Blanchard said it was given to him “for his safety.” Lavoie pressed Blanchard and asked if the guns were a factor in confronting Tamburello. Blanchard said, “No, they are hunters. They always have guns.”

Lavoie asked Blanchard if he was being truthful “to the best of his knowledge.” When Blanchard asked what that meant, Lavoie told Blanchard he had lied under oath “several times.” Blanchard then said Lavoie gave him testimonial immunity, to which Lavoie replied, “There is no agreement between us.”

Lavoie then said Blanchard had been given testimonial immunity but “it did not include perjury.” According to Lavoie, Blanchard lied before a 2008 grand jury, in his deposition, and under oath.

“You did it again,” Lavoie said. Blanchard responded, “Show me where?”

Zimmerman called Lavoie and defense attorneys Kevin Griffin and Elizabeth Kruska together. Shortly after they met, Zimmerman said to Lavoie, “Your redirect is done.”


5-13-11 Valley News Vermont
*White River Junction *— After listening to four days of testimony from witnesses and outside experts, jurors yesterday hopped into buses and headed down Interstate 91 to get a look for themselves at the Chester, Vt., softball field where Kyle Bolaski allegedly murdered Vincent Tamburello in August 2008.

On a sun-soaked morning, jurors spent about 15 minutes roaming around a grassy field sandwiched between two softball diamonds on Mackenzie Field, off Route 103. For the previous four days, attorneys and witnesses have described a series of events that occurred there: A group of people including Bolaski walking towards Tamburello’s car. Tamburello grabbing an ax and chasing them back. And, finally, Bolaski grabbing a rifle from his truck and shooting Tamburello twice, after Tamburello repeatedly plunged the ax into the truck.

But the space where all that action occurred was relatively confined: Tamburello essentially parked just beyond left field, and Bolaski and others had parked beyond right field. The space between — the distance they covered when Tamburello pulled out the ax — would only have taken several seconds to traverse.

Bolaski, who faces a second-degree murder charge, claims that he fired two shots from 30-06-caliber hunting rifle in self-defense, to ward off the ax-wielding Tamburello, 32. The medical examiner found that the second, fatal shot to Tamburello was in the back. Tamburello, a Charlestown, Mass., native who had recently moved to Vermont, had been involved in a series of disputes with Bolaski’s friends in the days before the shooting.

Back in Windsor Superior Court yesterday, prosecutor John Lavoie for the second time during the trial had trouble eliciting testimony from a witness, and eventually asked Judge Patricia Zimmerman to issue a contempt of court for Jerry Ucci, who showed up 20 minutes late for his scheduled testimony.

Zimmerman declined, saying it was a relatively minor issue. Lavoie and Ucci then spent the next three hours engaged in a testy back and forth.

Why is Lavoie frustrated? Like many other witnesses, Ucci, a friend of Bolaski’s, has changed his story in the past three years, deviating from statements he provided under oath to police, grand jury and attorneys.

For example, Ucci said yesterday that Bolaski slipped and fell as he ran from Tamburello, who then swung at Bolaski’s head with the ax, narrowly missing. Bolaski, 27, has also offered that story, but several other witnesses who have previously taken the witness stand have not corroborated that account.

But Ucci did not provide those details when he was interviewed by police hours after the shooting.

“So your memory is better three years later than five hours later?” Lavoie said.

But Ucci said he could not remember details of other events that would seemingly help Lavoie build his case.

For example, Ucci was in a pick-up truck with the Bolaskis when they began to learn of recent events in which their friends had clashed with Tamburello.

While in the pickup with the Bolaskis and Blanchard, Ucci ended up talking on the phone with Tamburello — it was Ucci who arranged for his friends and Tamburello to meet at Mackenzie Field. But on the witness stand, Ucci was evasive on the details of how he arranged the meeting, and what he and his friends planned to do once they arrived.

Like Tristan Blanchard, an admitted drug dealer who clashed with Lavoie on the witness stand earlier in the week, Ucci had already been declared a hostile witness, a designation that allows attorney to ask leading questions.

As the day went on, Lavoie and Ucci sparred about inconsistencies — which often appeared relatively minor — in Ucci’s previous statements.

On a few occasions, Lavoie cut Ucci off, and offered snide remarks, eventually drawing a rebuke from Zimmerman.

“We don’t need that Mr. Lavoie, OK?” Zimmerman said.

“Yes, your honor,” the prosecutor said.

As Lavoie kept hammering away, Ucci became visibly frazzled, and ended the day in tears. “It was a big part of our lives,” Ucci had said minutes earlier. “It destroyed our lives.”

With Ucci crying, Zimmerman abruptly called an end to the day, dismissing the witness and the jury for the weekend. The trial is scheduled to resume Monday

WCAX  May 16, 2011

A murder trial in the Upper Valley enters its second week. A Springfield man admits he shot and killed another man nearly three years ago, but says he had to in order to save his own life.

Much of Monday's trial focused around the testimony of Corey Bolaski, the brother of the accused -- Kyle Bolaski. Corey was on the Chester ball field with his brother the day of the shooting. He says the shooting victim, Boston-native Vincent Tamburello, ran at his brother with an ax and swung it at him, nearly missing his head.

"I saw Kyle -- went like this -- and the ax came in and barely missed him," Bolaski testified.

Defense lawyers say their client feared for his own life and ultimately killed Tamburello in self-defense. But prosecutors say Corey Bolaski has changed his story. Police recordings from the day of the incident were played for the court where he made no mention of Tamburello swinging the ax in the direction of his brother.

The incident stemmed from a fight from the previous night which neither Bolaski was a part of. Other witnesses testified Monday that Tamburello showed up at the field to settle the score and that he was indeed wielding an ax. According to witnesses, Tamburello ran at a group gathered at the field and began striking the ax against Kyle Bolaski's truck. But Christina Morgan, an eyewitness to the shooting, testified that things changed once Kyle Bolaski pulled out a gun -- a 30-06 high-powered riffle. "Once he realized that Kyle had the gun he froze," Morgan said.

Morgan said Bolaski shot Tamburello once, hitting him in the leg. At that point, she said Tamburello began to flea. "I don't remember him turning around but I remember him always facing Kyle and backing away," she testified.

Prosecutors say Bolaski chased Tamburello around the truck and shot him again-- this time in back. Prosecutors say it ended up being the fatal blow. A 911 call just after the shooting was played for the court.

Caller: "The guy that got shot -- his name is Vinnie."

911 Dispatcher: "Are you with him right now?"

Caller: "I don't really know him so I don't want to go near him, but he's laying on the ground. He's moving his arm."

Evidence that Tamburello's mother did not want to hear. She left the court before it was played. "The emotional toll it takes on the family, not just me and my wife, but the whole family is incomprehensible,' said Vincent Tamburello, Vincent's father.

It's a trial that almost did not happen. A grand jury found that there was not enough evidence for a murder charge. But after pressure from the Tamburello family, a new prosecutor filed the charges. The Tamburello's say just the fact the trial is taking place is in some ways justice for their son.

The trial is expected to last until Friday.


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Article published May 18, 2011
Conflicting details continue in Bolaski murder trial
By Christian Avard
Staff Writer
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — The prosecutor continued to receive conflicting accounts of specific events before and after the death of Vincent Tamburello on Aug. 17, 2008.

The State vs. Bolaski trial entered its seventh day of testimony at Windsor criminal court in White River Junction on Tuesday. Kyle Bolaski of Chester has pleaded innocent to second-degree murder and aggravated assault with a weapon in the shooting of Tamburello of Springfield.

John Lavoie, the Franklin County state’s attorney handling the case, questioned Bolaski’s brother Corey Bolaski as he testified Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning. Bolaski said he was working with his father, David Bolaski, on the morning of the shooting. After work, he met up with his brother Kyle and his friend Jerry Ucci. The Bolaskis and Ucci went scouting for the upcoming deer season until Kyle spoke with his friend Tristan Blanchard of Chester.

Blanchard told the Bolaskis that Tamburello stole $40 from his apartment, punched a friend of his and popped some tires belonging to another friend. Blanchard said he was concerned for his safety and the Bolaskis picked him up. They went to the Bolaskis’ apartment in Chester and Corey Bolaski allegedly offered Blanchard a .30-06 caliber rifle.

“I asked ‘Do you feel you need this?’ and (Blanchard) said ‘Yes, in case (Tamburello) shows up again,’” Bolaski said.

But Bolaski backtracked and said he never gave Blanchard the .30-06. He said Kyle Bolaski showed Blanchard how to use it and “put in Kyle’s truck” along with a .22 caliber rifle. Lavoie asked Corey Bolaski if he told police they had two guns in Kyle’s truck. Bolaski said they are always in the truck “just in case.” When Lavoie asked why, Bolaski said “they could run into a bear.” Lavoie asked Bolaski if he was truthful in telling his story to police and Bolaski said he “did the best that he could.”

David Bolaski also testified about the shooting. He said he spoke with Kyle, who “denied hitting (Tamburello) with the butt of the .30-06 rifle.” He heard that Kyle “kicked (Tamburello) on the ground” when he met with Kyle’s defense attorney Kevin Griffin.

Lavoie asked Bolaski if he spoke with Tim Arbuckle after the shooting. Bolaski said he spoke with him once on the day after the shooting. He said the conversation was about legal advice and told Arbuckle he “could not give him any.”

But Lavoie showed Bolaski phone records showing three phone calls made to Arbuckle on Aug. 17. Lavoie said two of the phone calls were made to Arbuckle before he gave his report to police. Bolaski did not recall the Aug. 17 phone calls.

“I can only speak about Arbuckle’s phone call to the house,” Bolaski said.

State Police Lt. William Jenkins of the Royalton barracks also testified. Jenkins was the lead investigator in the Tamburello shooting and taped Kyle Bolaski’s interview the night of the shooting. Lavoie played the interview to the jury. On the tape, Bolaski said he jumped into his truck because Tamburello “approached him with a splitting maul.” Bolaski told Jenkins he pulled out the .30-06 “for his safety” and shot Tamburello “to stay alive.” Jenkins asked Bolaski who Tamburello was mad at. Bolaski said “I don’t know.” Jenkins told Bolaski he was not forthcoming. Bolaski relented and said Tamburello was after Blanchard. When Jenkins asked why, Bolaski said, “He ripped him off or something.”


-White River Junction, Vermont - May 18, 2011

According to court documents, Kyle Bolaski shot Vinnie Tamburello in broad daylight on a ballfield in Chester and then immediately started shouting that the shooting was in self-defense, a position he maintains almost three years later.

The trial, which is now halfway into its second week, is highlighting the legal definition of self-defense.

"Self-defense requires that the defendant had a reasonable belief that his life was in danger or that he was about to be seriously injured," said Michele Martinez Campbell, a professor at the Vermont Law School.

According to court documents, Tamburello showed up at the field with an ax, continuing an altercation from a day earlier. Tamburello rushed the group with the ax and began striking Bolaski's truck repeatedly. Police say Bolaski then pulled a gun from the truck and shot Tamburello in the leg.

"If the facts clearly show that the victim was disabled, there is no more imminent threat and then self-defense doesn't apply," Martinez Campbell said.

But what happened after that first shooting is not clear. In fact, a witness called Wednesday seemed to contradict his own testimony as to who was pursuing after the first shot to the leg, first saying it was Tamburello.

"I saw the man with the ax still coming forward, coming still in a forward direction to the man with the gun," witness Keith Destromp said.

Then during cross examination Destromp said it was Bolaski following Tamburello.

"(The defendant) was going in a forward motion, yes sir," Destromp said.

It was then that police say Bolaski fired the fatal blow, hitting the victim in the back.

"There is nothing in the law that says just because the victim was shot in the back that means that it can't be self-defense," Martinez Campbell said. "But you know you would have to have some facts that really establish why that victim was shot in the back and yet the defendant still believed that his own life was in danger."

Martinez Campbell says ultimately it will be up to a jury to decide. But she says there could be a third option which is a lesser charge of manslaughter.

"And that would occur if the jury found that the self-defense claim was not established but the defendant was provoked by the victim attacking him in such a way that an ordinary person would have lost their self control," she explained.

A manslaughter charge was already filed in the past after a grand jury found that there was not enough evidence for murder. However, the second-degree murder charge was pursued by a different prosecutor at the urging of the Tamburello family.

Defense lawyer Kevin Griffin would not comment Wednesday on whether Bolaski will take the stand. However, Martinez Campbell says that Bolaski's side of the story would be the most powerful evidence the jury could hear. Of course, he is not in any way required to take the stand. The burden of proof falls solely on the prosecution.



WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, Vt. -- Kyle Bolaski has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Vincent Tamburello Jr.

The case went to the jury Thursday afternoon, and they returned its verdict after only a few hours, convicting him of second-degree murder but not of the lesser aggravated assault charge.

"We're just so so happy that they saw the evidence that was there, that they went by the evidence and nothing else," the victim's father, Vincent Tamburello, said following the verdict.

Bolaski's trial was never about whether he killed Tamburello, but about whether the shooting was self-defense, or murder.

During closing arguments, prosecutor Kevin Griffin said Bolaski had no choice when Tamburello started chasing a group of his friends with an ax.

"If I am attacked by someone I get to defend myself, and if I'm attacked with a deadly weapon, then I get to use deadly force to repel the attack," Griffin told the jury.

The prosecution said Tamburello was hurt after the first shot, and the second shot that killed him was murder.

"What if there were no guns? What would this look like? Would six people be dead on the ground with their heads split open by the ax? That was never what was going to happen," said prosecutor John Lavoie.

Bolaski left the courthouse in custody and will serve 20 years to life in prison.

The Tamburellos say they can finally move on.

"We got justice for my son," said the victim's father while clutching a picture of Vinnie. "We got justice for Vinnie."

Read more: http://www.wptz.com/news/27959314/detail.html#ixzz1MrGo2RHr

Bolaski Found Guilty of Murder

Victim's Father: ‘Never Give Up'

By Mark Davis
Valley News Staff Writer

White River Junction -- As the word “guilty” hung in the still courtroom, family members of Vinnie Tamburello flung their arms around one another, grabbing tight, trying not to yell.

Standing at the defense table, Kyle Bolaski stared straight ahead, without expression, while his younger brother Corey, in the courtroom gallery, buried his head in his hands.

After three hours of deliberation, a Windsor Superior Court jury yesterday found Kyle Bolaski guilty of second-degree murder, rejecting his claim that he shot Vincent Tamburello in self-defense during a 2008 melee at a softball field in Chester, Vt., that was witnessed by dozens of people.

“I can't explain how it feels to have victory for our son, justice for Vinnie, finally,” Tamburello's father, Vincent Tamburello, said outside the courthouse, holding a photograph of his son. “I never thought, three years ago, that we'd be here. I would never give up on Vinnie, my family would never give up. We knew they killed our son.”

Bolaski, 27, has been free on bail since the shooting, but as his family watched from the gallery, he was led away by sheriff's deputies and transported to Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, Vt., to begin serving a sentence of 20 years to life.

The jury of six men and six women found Bolaski not guilty of a second charge, aggravated assault, for allegedly hitting Tamburello in the head with the butt of his rifle as Tamburello lay dying.

Bolaski's mother, father and brother left without commenting, as did his girlfriend, who attended every day of the trial and lingered after everyone else had left yesterday to see Bolaski driven off in a squad car.

Bolaski's attorney, Kevin Griffin, could not be reached for comment after the verdict was announced yesterday evening.

Earlier in the day, Griffin made a final appeal for Bolaski's freedom, telling jurors that while dozens of witnesses gave conflicting accounts of the fatal confrontation, Bolaski fired a second shot from the .30-06 rifle because he believed Tamburello, who had swung an ax at him, was still threat.

“Nobody at the ball field had a better view, a better perception of the threat Vinnie Tamburello posed, than Kyle Bolaski,” Griffin said during his closing argument. “He was the one who had been pursued, hunted down, completely locked in to what Vinnie Tamburello was doing at that point, and there has been a ton of second guessing of that decision to fire the second shot.”

But several witnesses testified that Tamburello had been retreating when he died. And, perhaps most damning of all, an autopsy showed that the fatal shot entered Tamburello's back.

During his argument yesterday, Griffin addressed that finding for the first time, arguing that Tamburello may have suddenly twisted his body, perhaps to elevate the ax, before he was shot. But Griffin did not offer any witnesses to testify about that theory during the trial. Bolaski did not take the stand.

“Vinnie Tamburello is dead because of a bullet that man put in his back,” prosecutor John Lavoie said, pointing at Bolaski, during his closing argument. “There's a broad range of witnesses who describe him … hobbling, limping, and he's moving back, he's trying to retreat, trying to run away. The defendant pursues him and shoots him in the back.”

Bolaski and Tamburello were total strangers -- they may never have even exchanged a single word.

In the days before the shooting, Tamburello had been feuding with a group of Bolaski's friends in the Springfield area. The confrontation started when Tamburello allegedly stole $40 worth of marijuana from one of the friends, and continued into a warm Sunday evening days later.

Many of the details were hotly contested, as participants gave conflicting accounts and changed their stories during the the investigation. But somehow, Tamburello and a large group that included Bolaski met at Mackenzie Field in Chester, as dozens of softball players drank beer and celebrated the end of a weekend long tournament.

Tamburello grabbed an ax and charged the group, causing them to scatter. He kept running after Bolaski, who ran to his truck and grabbed the rifle. As Tamburello plunged the ax into the truck, Bolaski loaded and fired once, hitting Tamburello in the leg. Then he fired again.

Vinnie Tamburello, 32, was the oldest of four siblings from the neighborhoods of Charlestown, Mass, north of Boston. He struggled with substance abuse in the final years of his life, and moved to Vermont in the summer of 2008, hoping to start anew. But Tamburello remained proud of his hometown: As he lay bleeding to death on a grassy field, he spoke his final words.

“My name is Victor,” he told a police officer. “I'm from Boston.”

For much of the past two weeks, Lavoie assumed an almost bombastic personality, repeatedly engaging in heated exchanges with witnesses and provoking the ire of Judge Patricia Zimmerman. Yesterday, Lavoie quietly declined to comment.

“Thank you, though,” he said, before loading his files into his trunk and driving off.

For the Tamburello family, even having a murder trial was something of a victory. In 2009, Windsor County State's Attorney Robert Sand dropped the murder charge to voluntary manslaughter, saying he did not have enough evidence to prove murder.

The Tamburellos were enraged. They lobbied to have Sand removed from the case, hired their own attorneys, and leveled accusations that the entire Vermont justice system was corrupt. Eventually, Sand handed the case to Lavoie, a deputy state's attorney in Franklin County, who reinstated the murder charge.

“I did not believe there was any justice in Vermont, but now I believe it,” Tamburello said yesterday. “It's not the system, it's the people that make it work.”

After three years of legal maneuvering, and a two-week trial, the verdict seemed to arrive suddenly. Around 6:30 p.m., word filtered through the courthouse that the jury had decided to go home and resume deliberations in the morning. A few minutes later, word spread from lawyers and security personnel that a decision had been made.

With the Tamburello family and several of Bolaski's friends milling around the courthouse for the past two weeks, security had been unusually tight, and authorities were clearly concerned that the verdict would cause emotions to explode. By the time the jury announced its decision, a dozen sheriff's deputies and four members of the Vermont State Police and several Hartford police officers had assembled at the courthouse.

Both families quietly took seats on the wooden benches in the courtroom. The Tamburellos stayed long enough to hear the verdict and watch Bolaski walk to a holding area, before everyone poured outside into the late evening half-light. “You did it, you did it, you (freaking) did it,” Randy Staples, the victim's uncle, told Vincent Tamburello Sr. as they embraced.

But as the Tamburellos celebrated, 10 yards away, Bolaski's girlfriend stood alone. Wearing a black skirt and a lavender jacket and barefoot, she walked toward the side entrance of the courthouse, the one the public never sees, and waited to see Bolaski put into the backseat of a squad car. They were able to exchange a quick greeting before he was driven away to the prison that will confine him for the next 20 years.

She lingered. In the minutes that followed, she made an obscene gesture toward Lavoie as he drove off, walked toward her own car, and unlocked the door. But she didn't get in.

Instead, she sat on the curb, and lowered her head in her hands.






Vincent Tamburello Sr., left, and his wife, Ronnie Tamburello, react yesterday to the jury's guilty verdict in the second-degree murder trial of Kyle Bolaski, who shot and killed their son, Vincent, in a 2008 dispute.


Article published May 20, 2011
Jury convicts Bolaski of second-degree murder
By Christian Avard
Staff Writer
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — A jury returned a guilty verdict for Kyle Bolaski on a charge of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Vincent Tamburello of Springfield.

Closing arguments in the case took place on Thursday and the jury returned the verdict shortly after 7 p.m. at criminal court in White River Junction. Bolaski, a Chester resident, shot and killed Tamburello in a confrontation at MacKenzie field in Chester on Aug. 17, 2008. The jury on Thursday evening also acquitted Bolaski of a charge of aggravated assault with a weapon.

Judge M. Patricia Zimmerman ordered Bolaski held without bail and he was taken to the Springfield prison. Bolaski faces a minimum of 20 years to life in prison. No date has been set for his sentencing.

Members of the Tamburello family let out a gasp of relief after the verdict was read. Tamburello's father Vincent Tamburello Sr. held a picture of his son outside criminal court. In tears, Tamburello Sr. kissed the picture of his son, looked to the sky, and made a sign of the cross.

“I can't explain how it feels to have justice for Vinnie finally. I never thought three years ago we would be here. It was dead in the water,” Tamburello Sr. said. “My family would not give up. We knew what the evidence was. We knew they killed our son. We weren't going to let this go.”

Testimony ended in the case late Thursday. Franklin County State's Attorney John Lavoie in his closing argument thanked the jury and reminded them the case was not a “whodunit.”

He said the jury would be deciding if Bolaski acted in self-defense based on the credibility of the witnesses.

“The only contested element is whether this was a lawful killing. But Tamburello is dead because of a bullet that (Bolaski) put in his back,” Lavoie said.

Lavoie argued that Bolaski did not act in self-defense. He said witnesses saw Bolaski go into his truck to obtain his .30-06 caliber rifle, not to run for cover. According to Lavoie, if someone went to a ball field with the expectations of conflict then the self-defense argument may no longer hold.

“If you carry a gun around, someone will give you an excuse to use it,” Lavoie said.

Lavoie said Bolaski told police that he fell before opening his truck door to get out his .30-06. He emphasized that Tamburello had the opportunity to hurt Bolaski but did not.

Defense attorney Kevin Griffin argued that Bolaski acted in self-defense. According to Griffin, Tamburello went to the ball field “to hurt someone.” No one knew how or when but that “no one was going to stop him.”

Griffin said that Bolaski was in imminent danger and witnesses said Tamburello pursued Bolaski after he wounded him with the first shot. “No one at the ball field knew the threat more than Bolaski. He was being pursued, hunted down, and locked in,” Griffin said.

Griffin said it was difficult to determine if Bolaski injured Tamburello with the butt of his rifle because there was no DNA evidence on Bolaski's .30-06. He argued there was not “one piece of cellular evidence on the gun” and the prosecution's burden of proof was insufficient.

Lavoie did not comment after the verdict and Griffin could not be reached at press time. As for Tamburello Sr., he was relieved the trial was over.

“It could've gone either way. We're so happy (the jury) saw the evidence there,” Tamburello said. “For the longest time I did not believe there was any justice in Vermont. Now I believe it.”

Jury convicts Vermont man in murder trial

By Associated Press  |   Friday, May 20, 2011  |  http://www.bostonherald.com  |  Northeast

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, Vt. — A jury has found a Vermont man guilty of second-degree murder in a 2008 shooting.

WCAX-TV reports the jury deliberated for about three hours Thursday before convicting 27-year-old Kyle Bolaski in the shooting death of 32-year-old Vincent Tamburello.

The shooting happened in a Chester park. Police say Tamburello had been at odds with friends of Bolaski’s in the days before the shooting.

Authorities say Bolaski shot Tamburello twice, including once in the back as Tamburello tried to retreat. But Bolaski says he acted in self-defense because Tamburello had chased him with an ax.

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/national/northeast/view.bg?articleid=1339351


NEWS: Bolaski Jurors Agreed At Once

White River Junction -- Jurors who convicted Kyle Bolaski of second-degree murder last week say they were in agreement from the moment they began deliberating, having not been presented with compelling evidence supporting Bolaksi's claim that he shot Vincent Tamburello in self-defense.