Vt. man charged for role in 2008 Chester killing
By ERIC FRANCIS
CORRESPONDENT | August 01,2013
ERIC FRANCIS PHOTO
Attorney Mark Furlan and Timothy Arbuckle of Chester wait their turn in court Wednesday where Arbuckle was charged with kicking a dying man on a ball field in 2008.
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — The case of a Massachusetts man killed at a Chester ball field in August 2008 came back to court Wednesday when one of the participants in the fatal melee was brought in to face a new charge.
Timothy Arbuckle, 32, a lifelong resident of the Chester–Springfield area who has been serving time in a New Hampshire prison for unrelated convictions, pleaded innocent to aiding in the commission of a felony for his alleged role in the death of 33-year-old Vinny Tamburello.
Tamburello had been engaged in a back-and-forth feud with some local men, including Arbuckle, for several days when he showed up at MacKenzie Field for what was described as a pre-arranged invitation to fight that evening five years ago, police said.
In front of a large crowd of onlookers who were just finishing up a softball game, Tamburello charged down a hillside waving a splitting maul over his head and he began to bash the windows out of a pickup, police said.
Within moments Kyle Bolaski of Springfield pulled a rifle from the truck and shot Tamburello in the leg at close range as the latter raised the maul over his head, police said. Tamburello limped away and Bolaski fired a second, ultimately fatal, shot into his lower torso, police said.
Arbuckle walked up to the dying man and kicked him several times, a witness said in court records.
Five men, including Bolaski and Arbuckle, and a woman were in the group allegedly waiting for Tamburello.
Then-State's Attorney Robert Sand convened a grand jury to consider the claims of self-defense made by the men who said Tamburello charged at them. The grand jury refused to return an indictment against Bolaksi.
After a campaign of protest was raised by Tamburello's family, Sand brought in another prosecutor, John Lavoie, who ultimately filed charges against Bolaski, who was convicting of second-degree murder two years ago.
During Wednesday's arraignment, Lavoie was back in White River Junction criminal court, where he told Judge Robert Gerety that even though the original charge against Arbuckle had been a misdemeanor simple assault, he thought the upgrade to a felony was appropriate.
“Facts were developed during the (Bolaski) trial that solidified the accomplice theory against Mr. Arbuckle,” Lavoie told the judge. “There were certain dramatic changes in his testimony at the trial that made him not a helpful witness to the state.”
Moments later, Arbuckle's defense attorney, Mark Furlan, seized on Lavoie's comments and told Judge Gerety that the prosecutor “didn't like the way (Arbuckle) testified at the trial, so he changes it to a felony.”
Furlan added, “It's vindictive prosecution and it's inappropriate, but there is nothing we can do about it today.”
Gerety said that while he did not want to get into the merits of the case Wednesday, the more serious charge justified setting bail at $20,000 to ensure Arbuckle returned to court.
Furlan said that if Arbuckle is able to post bail he will live with a relative in Chester while his case is pending.