Hartland Man Acquitted In Goat Killing Case

July 26, 2013

in Hartland,News,Woodstock

By Eric Francis, Standard Correspondent

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — The Hartland man who had been accused of masterminding the brutal 2011 attacks on a pair of pet goats belonging to a state game warden was acquitted of all the charges facing him Friday afternoon.

Nick Ashline, 35, hugged family members and shook the hand of his Peter Decato, his defense attorney, after a Windsor County jury deliberated for just over three hours before returning a slate of “not guilty” verdicts for all five charges- three of acting as an accessory before the fact and two counts of attempting to obstruct justice.

Another man, 22-year-old Daniel Parry of West Windsor, admitted a year ago that he was the person who actually snuck onto Vermont Game Warden Steve Majeski’s property and slit the throats of the goats, killing one of them and severely injuring the other, but Parry had maintained that the only reason for the cruel attacks was because Ashline — who admitted to a long-standing dislike of the warden — had supposedly paid him to do it.

Ashline took the witness stand in his own defense this week and flatly denied that he had ever engaged in any conversation with Parry expressing a desire to have the warden’s pets killed — joking or otherwise.

Speaking after the verdict, defense attorney Decato said he believed the jury was faced with a choice of whether to believe witnesses who had very little to drink on the evening in question versus others who admitted to having had quite a bit of beer and — in at least one case — nearly a dozen Percocet pills. Decato said it appeared to him that the jury decided to go with the sober individual’s recollections of events.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kathy July 28, 2013 at 9:01 am

Nick was found not guilty because sadly the jury had to go on a unreasonable doubt situation, the evidence was all circumstantial. Nick knows he’s guilty; his family knows he’s guilty and I ditto Kim, Karmas a bitch! It was also brave for Mr. Sweeney to tell the truth and not let family or other’s intimidate him. Nick took advantage of another person when they were slightly out of sorts for his own personal gain, that says a lot about him as a person. Daniel and Colby were not extremely out of it as Decato kept stating. Daniel didn’t even know the Majeski’s nor where they lived. There’s a lot that doesn’t make sense and I could go on and on. The general public can figure it out and the ones who don’t are in denial. Daniel stepped up and did what was right and he will live with no regrets and everyone is proud of him and he is doing very well.

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